About Sooner football and the Star-Spangled BannerFew things in Oklahoma get people as fired up as Sooner football and patriotism. Combine the two and "fired up” doesn't even begin to describe what happens to some people. Here is a selection of reader responses to Berry Tramel's column "Star-Spangled shame”, which ran in The Oklahoman's Tuesday editions. →William Velie, Norman: I think you are turning a song into a graven image or the golden calf — the song is an adaptation of an old English drinking song. We are a great country and don't need to speak in hushed reverential tones about objects or songs. On any given Saturday, 100,000 hard working folks get out to commune and celebrate the collective spirit of Oklahoma and Sooner football. Let us have some fun. There are serious issues that we are dealing with in the world right now. Substituting the word brave for Sooners is not one of them. →Frank Conway, Purcell: Your article today was outstanding and just what our football fans need to hear. There are too many people who have never served in the armed forces and therefore do not understand the meaning of the national anthem and the sacrifices made by our service men. Keep writing them up and giving them Fs for their behavior. Their behavior is an insult to all patriotic Oklahomans and veterans. →Mike McFarland, Tulsa: This has needed to be said for a long time. The last time I went to a game, I was embarrassed when this happened. You would think that for a few seconds, people could forget about football and remember how fortunate and blessed they are to be able to come to a game. After all, isn't that the reason we salute the flag and sing the song in the first place? I can only hope the bozos will behave this weekend, but I'm not going to hold my breath. By the way, anyone who boos the Air Force Academy when they come on the field Saturday should be escorted out of the stadium! Maybe they would like to spend a little time over in Afghanistan and get an attitude adjustment. →Matt Allen, Oklahoma City: I'm writing to say that you lost a fan today, but not because of your opinion regarding the national anthem at OU home games. Reasonable minds can differ as to the appropriateness of that, and you have as much of a right to your opinion as I do mine. You lost me as a fan because of the acerbic, puerile and insulting manner in which you attacked half a fan base on an issue where, as I said above, reasonable minds can differ. Your conduct was unprofessional in resorting to namecalling and closed-mindedness. You have a bigger soapbox than most; I feel that you are charged to use it with prudence, and you let me down. →Don Garrison, Duncan: I'm 67 years old and a loyal Sooner fan and have been for a long time. I doubt that there are very few fans who attend the games that consider shouting "SOONERS” at the end of the national anthem as being disrespectful. I'm about as patriotic an American as they come and I don't have a problem with it. In case you haven't noticed, this is not something new that has been happening, but has been going on for a number of years. I would say that on any given Saturday at a football game in Norman, you will find a cross-section of proud, patriotic Oklahomans who would do anything to defend this country and this, in my opinion, is a waste of time to print such a non-story. →Robert Mares, Yukon: It's sad to say but Oklahoma just comes out looking like a bunch of rednecks when this sort of behavior is tolerated. That bravery allows us to live our lives in freedom every day. It's a shame. I agree with you. →David Griffith: Get over it. Sooner fans are not purposefully disrespecting the military or its fallen soldiers. In fact, I have heard recently that service members were actively yelling "Sooners” while in Norman last Saturday and do it on a regular basis! The altered ending to the song is merely a play on words and can be interpreted differently by different people. Your argument is one more paradigm which promotes political correctness in all aspects of life. Just because you or others are offended doesn't represent what is right nor justifies changing the tradition… If you don't like it, don't go to the games. Stick to sports, and improving your newspaper. →Jan Peck: Really? What a downer it was opening the sports page this morning. I usually look especially forward to your articles. When exactly did it become shameful to yell out "Sooners” instead of "brave?” That has been a fun tradition at OU football games for as long as I've had season tickets. It's about school pride for me, Berry. I am a 53-year-old, extremely patriotic OU alumnae. I put my American flag out before I left for the game on Saturday, by the way. I think I represent the majority of the so called "mob.” I am also extremely weary of hyper-political correctness these days. Are we "the land of the free?” I remember the debate in your paper about a year ago. If I remember correctly there were several military people and veterans alike that said they didn't have a problem with it and didn't feel disrespected. I think you even quoted a soldier that said he likes to yell out "Sooners.” You have said we are choosing love of OU football over love of country! Really, Berry? You are so far off base. If I ever thought that I embarrassed the State of Oklahoma or disrespected a group of veterans, well then OF COURSE I would never again yell "Sooners.” But let me hear that from our military. Not from you for heaven sake!
About Sooner football and the Star-Spangled Banner