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Ending anthem with 'Sooners' is a Star-Spangled shame

Columnist Berry Tramel writes that the unfortunate tradition at OU's stadium embarrasses the team, the school, and the state.
by Berry Tramel Modified: September 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm •  Published: September 13, 2010


photo - A Norman police officer salutes the flag before the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Florida State University Seminoles (FSU) on Sat., Sept. 11, 2010, in Norman, Okla.  Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
A Norman police officer salutes the flag before the college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Florida State University Seminoles (FSU) on Sat., Sept. 11, 2010, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Before a game last season, OU showed a video tribute to David Wright, a former Sooner hurdler who was killed on duty in Afghanistan in September 2009. A moment of silence was held for Wright, followed immediately by the national anthem.

Which ended with a booming "home of, the SOONERS!"

"The more we try to bring light to the subject ... the more defiant they seem to get," Castiglione said.

The counter-argument is that fans have the right to yell whatever they want. Which of course they do. This is not a free speech debate.

This is a don't-be-a-gooberhead debate. This is a don't-let-football-make-you-lose-your-mind debate.

In town Saturday will be an Air Force football team made up of players who will be drafted not by the Colts or the Vikings, but by units in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

OU is calling it Military Appreciation Day, complete with a halftime salute. Which will seem empty after the nonsense during the national anthem.

I'm not big on patriotic displays. I actually did mess up that report card; I should have given the F for simple respect.

If you don't want to fly a flag or put your hand over your heart or even pay your taxes, fine. But it's wrong to inject your college football fanaticism into the respect others are trying to show.

I'm no great fan of "The Star-Spangled Banner." It's not a good tune, and the lyrics are hard to remember even for a song we've heard 10,000 times.

But the song is not about musical quality. It's about honoring the nation and the sacrifice our military has made.

We have had perilous fighting. Rockets have produced red glare. Bombs have burst in air.

You have every right to yell Sooners. Just know that when you do, you're disrespecting the brave.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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