FanDuel - WFBC

September 17, 2008

Josh Howard Disrespects National Anthem: "'The Star-Spangled Banner' is going on. I don't celebrate this [expletive]. I'm black." Video included.

posted by BoKnows to basketball at 05:20 PM - 102 comments

Well Josh spoke his mind is that a crime? No, but joke or not in the court of public opinion omg he is toast, just another athlete showing why he is an athlete and not a brain surgeon. Just shut up and play.

posted by jknemo at 06:14 PM on September 17

Based on the whole body of his behavior in the past four months, Josh will take major heat in Dallas. That said, if he decides to lay low for awhile, and most especially, if he steps up his performance in a majaor way when the season starts, all will be forgiven and Mavs fans will be once again "lovin' them some Josh".

posted by txsoccermom at 06:26 PM on September 17

Wait, what's the problem? We aren't 1930's Germany (yet) so it's hardly a crime to not stand for or acknowledge the Pledge of Allegiance. If anything, it's admirable to dismiss it- shows more than unthinking love of country.

And the only other things mentioned in that article include, heavens to Betsy, acknowledging the occasional pot smoking and a speeding incident. Speeding's not a huge deal, although 94 in a 55 is pretty irresponsible, but not exactly like running a dogfighting ring or getting filthy rich off the exploitation of Indonesian sweatshop laborers and inner-city crime and desperation like Michael Jordan and every other Nike/Reebok/et al endorser who does nothing to question the business model that generates their wealth. The pot thing needs to be said by everyone who smokes pot, because our drug laws are horrific, racist, irrational, and destroying the infrastructure of our society. Oh, and he apparently had a birthday party despite having lost in a playoff game. What, he shouldn't celebrate his own birthday? If I have a shitty day at work on my own birthday, I'll enjoy having a party to take the edge off!

So... everything I read in that article says Josh Howard has a better head on his shoulders than say Lebron James, who I remember as much for his dissing of Stephon Marbury's more socially-conscious shoes than for anything he does on the court.

But of course ESPN, knee jerk Americans, and the media as a whole like to make fire out of a lot of empty smoke. I mean, jknemo says "shut up and play". Apparently expressing your opinions to your friends is verboten if you're... an... athlete. I don't quite follow that. Jknemo is a whatever-he-is, and he's expressing his opinion here. Hey jknemo, just shut up and do whatever-it-is-you-do. That explains why you are a whatever-it-is-your- occupation-is and not a brain surgeon.

posted by hincandenza at 06:36 PM on September 17

Amen Hal! Tellin' it like it is.

posted by DudeDykstra at 07:29 PM on September 17

Hmm. American athlete celebrates substance of American freedoms by spurning ritual.

Lynching at 11.

posted by rodgerd at 07:48 PM on September 17

I fully support Josh Howard's right to say whatever he wants.

I also support my right to say whatever I want to say: Josh Howard is stupid. Just because he can throw a ball through a circular piece of metal rod doesn't impact my impression one way or the other. I only wish stupid individuals making misguided comments which are in poor taste and of ill timing wouldn't continue to infect my computer.

Josh is more than happy to bask in the cash and adulation playing a game, for god's sake, in this country has afforded him, yet he just can't come to grips with the fact he IS in the public eye and what damage this type of ridiculous comment can cause him. I fully expect his agent is right now typing out a full apology he will attribute to Howard, when practically everyone who hears it (the apology) will realize he (Howard) could never write something that makes any sense.

posted by dyams at 08:19 PM on September 17

Could anyone out there in spofi land explain to me why there would be a causal relationship between not "celebrating" the national anthem and being black? Is there some sort of racism involved in that song that I've never heard about? Just curious.

I completely support Howard's right to ignore, or even speak out against the national anthem (ironically, that's kind of what the anthem represents) but, unless he wants to come across as just another dumbass in front of a camera, maybe he should expand on his line of thought. I can say that I hate felt tip pens because I'm white, but it doesn't exactly enlighten my listeners as to what is wrong, or at least what my issue is, with felt tip pens.

posted by tahoemoj at 08:53 PM on September 17

Josh Howard is an uneducated selfish asshole. Since when is not respecting the flag or National Anthem a "black thing". I thought it was an "American thing". Is he trying to say that all black people have no respect for the country or the soldiers that go to war? If I was black I would be more offended by that than anything. Where are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton now? It is african americans that he said disparaging things about, even though he doesn't realize it. If he doesn't want to look at the flag that is his right as an American, even if I don't agree. But to disrespect it and call it a "black thing" is just moronic.

Let's see him try to get away with that shit before one of his basketball games. Just start shooting layups when they play the anthem, see how long you will have the only job you are qualified for in America. Then get the fuck out.

posted by JohnnyBallsack at 09:04 PM on September 17

I'm not trying to defend Josh here. I've met the dude out on the street, and he's a sincerely approachable guy. I do wish that if he continued to do this kind of thing that he had a leg to stand on, but I'm not going to crucify someone for what a random guy caught with his blackberry three months ago.

And let's be honest here: the national anthem does kind of suck.

And a fish in the sky. And a big monkey...pie.

Shit is giving me tired-head.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:13 PM on September 17

Josh Howard, like any American, has the right not to honor the National Anthem and to speak out against it.

I do think he's wrong, though. There's a lot of reasons he ought to love the country. One of them: Getting the opportunity to be a millionaire for playing a game.

posted by rcade at 09:34 PM on September 17

I am not saying docshredder was completely right in what he said. However, just because you graduate from a college doesn't mean you LEARNED anything. Dexter Manley graduated college without learning to read. Many ballplayers are pushed through the system. Obviously he slept through American Histroy classes if he even attended them.

posted by JohnnyBallsack at 09:48 PM on September 17

Before I am corrected- Dexter Manley made it through four years of college (didn't graduate) while being illiterate.

posted by JohnnyBallsack at 09:49 PM on September 17

An ironic thing that I just picked up on. This happened at an Allen Iverson Celebrity Softball game. If Allen Iverson has enough class and respect to play the anthem before his own charity event, then in my eyes Howard was also disrespecting Iverson and the charity with his comments and actions. Unless I am mistaken, Iverson is also black. So maybe it isn't a black thing Josh.

posted by JohnnyBallsack at 10:46 PM on September 17

I can't help thinking back to Carlos and Smith with the gloved fists on the podium during the anthem in the 68 Olympics. That was a black thing. That meant something. Howard is a little league candy bar vendor compared to those guys.

You just never know which way some folks are gonna go when they become the recipients of imaginary amounts of money.

Ryne Sandberg thought something was horribly wrong with the world when the Cubs hiked him to $7 mil per annum, and he walked away from the game (temporarily).

Charles Barkley came of age playing hoops in Alabama and became an ardent Republican zealot.

Latrell Sprewell came of age playing hoops in Alabama and became a throat choking lunatic.

Danny Darwin signed an absurdly generous deal with the Red Sox and told the media that he could now afford to get his parents that extra bathroom for their house that they'd always wanted.

I could have built his parents 10 Cribs-rated spare shithouses with what he had been making off of his previous deal.

Maybe Howard's just suffering from being overpaid. That business about not letting the money go to your head -- some guys ain't got a head for the money to go to.

posted by beaverboard at 10:56 PM on September 17

Sorry if my earlier comments offended anyone, but this type of stuff really pisses me off. The guy makes more money than 99.9% of the country and he has the audacity to disrespect the national anthem? Then he blames it on being black? Wow!

I guess shooting him in the face would be little extreme.

posted by docshredder at 11:01 PM on September 17

you know, I've read some posts on this site before that I thought were misguided, but some of the thoughts in this thread take the cake.

Freedom of Speech is not the same as the right to say whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want to. Common sense and sensibility should tell someone that while the National Anthem is being played is not the time to say crap like "I don't celebrate this shit because I'm black. Don't sing along, make up words like Ufez does, just respect that it is a National Anthem being played. When anthems of other countries are played, we stand respectfully and listen. Doesn't mean we're "celebrating" that country. To think that his behavior is somehow "admirable to dismiss it- shows more than unthinking love of country" is to not understand the word respect.

Additionally, as rcade clearly pointed out, it's rather hypocritical to trash America while taking full advantage of it's freedom and opportunities.

Sadly, this will all blow over as there is too much time before the season starts, and the Mavericks are already well into the spin cycle on this. Seems that the players will be attending "advanced communication skills sessions". Dallas fans will support a winner, criminal records/personal behavior issues are not to get in the way of winning season.

posted by dviking at 11:19 PM on September 17

In the video they discussed whether or not this would be something handled solely by Cuban and the Mavs, or if the commissioner would somehow wade in. It will be interesting to see how whatever form of reprimand is coming down the pipe will play out.

And all I have to add to this discussion so far is that blind patriotism is a real problem. But blatant (and hypocritical) disregard for it is too.

posted by Spitztengle at 12:11 AM on September 18

Don't sing along, make up words like Ufez does

Sorry if it was a bit esoteric, but it was an Eddie Izzard reference. Nothing new around SpoFi. I wasn't making shit up, though.

I guess shooting him in the face would be little extreme.

You think? Good god, man.

posted by Ufez Jones at 12:30 AM on September 18

Look everyone's personal opinion about what he said is valid. Not going to debate that. But looking at it from a professional standpoint, he BLEW it! It's not even about being a role model. It's about knowing when your private thoughts (or jokes) might become public fodder. As in ANY TIME YOU ARE IN FRONT OF A CAMERA. My guess is that this will eventually blow over. He will probably make some kind of written public apology through a spokesman that it was meant in jest but that he should have been more sensitive. Unless the people of Dallas demand his head, he'll keep playing for the Mavs. And if he keeps putting up 20 pts a game, it will be forgotten.

posted by bluesdog at 01:07 AM on September 18

"Freedom of Speech is not the same as the right to say whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want to." -dviking

What, praytell, does Freedom of Speech mean, if not that?

posted by bobfoot at 01:13 AM on September 18

Mr. Ballsack is correct...Where is the African American community up in arms about this. A comment is made from a white shock jock in jest makes headlines and an outrage in the community. Yet a black athlete says something that puts down african americans in general by saying they do not need to respect the flag, the country, the government or the soldiers that fought for his rights for free speech. I am surprised (but not really) that the "black" activists are not getting involved. I guess it is ok in the black community to put each other down, but when an outsider does it it becomes national news.

How up in arms would it be if the Redeem Team would have gotten a silver medal instead of gold. Then walked off the podium during the ceremony and said "It ain't my country, why should I stay?" They would all be punished the same way Dickhead Howard should be.

Yes, he may be a foolish young man that was trying to be funny or macho. He needs to know better. For a college educated man he is either an idiot or an asshole. Either way I would never cheer for him.

posted by urallcloolis at 01:28 AM on September 18

230 something years ago slavery was about 100 years away from being abolished(give or take another 100 with the jim crow laws),murder and displacement of the natives(manifest destiny) was just getiing warmed up,and this "song of freedom is supposed to be respected by all americans?I beg to differ.only one group of people got their freedom back then.people of all races and colors have been victims of unspeakable acts since then.I'm gonna have to side with howard on this,not because Il'm Black,but because I know the truth.howard does not speak for all Black people,and neither do I.I just think it's ironic that everytime someone has a negative opinion about the symbols of the freedom we have in this country,people get all upset,and want them ran-off.or like one dumb-ass said"lynching at 11".get a grip people.flags are just thread,songs are just notes and words.just because a person got rich playing ball,doesn't mean he has to keep his mouth shut about the way he feels.

posted by mars1 at 01:58 AM on September 18

bobfoot, I really don't want to take up too much of your time, but clearly there are limits on what, or where, a person can say certain things.

We are not allowed to scream racially charged, hate speech in the middle of a crowded mall.(Hate speech)

I am not allowed to stand in a public forum and make false statements about your sexual habits. (slander)

There are numerous laws that restrict our freedom, all of which are designed to protect the greater good of society.

Now, did Howard violate the law? Probably not. I would bet that he violated the sensibilities of the vast majority of Americans, regardless of their race. I have spoken with several black co-workers and friends that have said that they think he's an idiot for what he said. Of course, one added "that doesn't mean I don't want him on the Mav's"

posted by dviking at 02:06 AM on September 18

Yes...disrespecting the country and the flag is the way to go mars1. When were you or Mr. Howard slaves? Because your great great grandfathers may have been I guess it is ok. Yet if a white person says something in any way disparaging he is a racist. Get over the double standards and live and respect the country you live in or get the fuck out.

Like johhnyballsack said: if Mr. Howard wanted to make a statement he had ample time to do it- at one of his own games. He has to stand and look at the flag before his own games but has no problem doing so. Why doesn't he make a point and go shoot jumpers or stretch during the anthem when it is played at his own games? Or are you going to say he is a slave and has to do it to make his money?

To me there are no double standards due here. Respect it while you are getting paid and every other time or you are just a slave all the time. He has a choice to make and it was the easy one. He is an asshole, regardless of race, disrespecting to all that died to give him his freedom of choice and speech. Bottom line he cares about no one but himself and he should just go sign a contract to play overseas. I don't care what country, as long as it isn't this one.

posted by urallcloolis at 02:16 AM on September 18

The whole American patriotism during nothing sports events is so sad, and highlights exactly what is wrong with the country in regards to jingoistic fervor.

Sure, play your national anthem prior to big INTERNATIONAL events like the World Cup etc... But random baseball games, NASCAR races etc... It's pathetic.

In fact under a psychological evaluation, America would probably be labeled a bully. Throws it's weight around, beats up those weaker than itself, engages in grandiose posturing and rituals, but ultimately is a very insecure scared little child.

posted by Drood at 02:27 AM on September 18

Yet a black athlete says something that puts down african americans in general by saying they do not need to respect the flag, the country, the government or the soldiers that fought for his rights for free speech.

urall? That statement says a lot more about you than it does Dwight Howard. And not in a particularly impressive way either.

Anyway. Onto Drood.

Do I think that the pageantry is a bit silly when I've been to, say, a high school americanfootball game? Yeah. Do I think the punctuation of public events with patriotic and militaristic stuff is creepy? Yeah. (The comment from urallcloolis makes me wince.) But so is morris dancing.

If you're an American professional sportsperson in the major league sports, I wouldn't blame you for being fucking sick of the national anthem. Imagine being a baseball player, and having to show due respect every night for half the year as some random throat-warbler murders that repurposed drinking song.

Still, one thing you get paid yer money for is to deal with it, and Howard needs a good bit of continuing education. If Mark Cuban's smart, he calls up Tommie Smith, who can explain why 2008 is not 1968.

[Ufez: confirm and deny... confirm and deny...]

posted by etagloh at 03:20 AM on September 18

OK, I'll be the Peter Norman here. I have the right nationality, at least.

I've represented my country, but said to people that I'd only stand for the anthem and show respect if they played the obscure second verse as well. Because I agree with THOSE lyrics.

posted by owlhouse at 08:05 AM on September 18

What Josh said shows the quality of man he is. That's it. We can agree or disagree. That ability to agree or disagree is a right that we are given. We can't make this a racial thing either. We know better. Really? Not all AA feel the same way I know that, you know that too.

posted by adammcd at 08:42 AM on September 18

Where is the African American community up in arms about this

I'm gonna assume that it's because this guy is an idiot and (most) everyone knows that getting into an argument with an idiot is a losing battle.

Josh Howard is a joke. He may have the ability to shoot a ball in a basket but when it comes to basic common sense, apparently he has none. To make the claim that he doesn't "celebrate" the National Anthem because he's black is a slap to the face to all African-Americans that fought for this country so he would have the abilty to express his freedom of speech in the first place.

What's sad is that he made a little over $8 million dollars just last year playing basketball in this country and had absolutely no problems cashing the checks that he was given. Some people need a reality check to realize just how good they got it and others need a swift kick in the ass, this guy needs both.

posted by BornIcon at 09:09 AM on September 18

That statement says a lot more about you than it does Dwight Howard

By the way etagloh, not sure if you actually read the post or not but it was Josh Howard that made that dumb statement, not Dwight Howard. Dwight played for the USA basketball team in Beijin and also won a gold medal. Josh is the one that bought an 1/2 pound of Hawaiian Kush over the summer to burn in his water bong that he purchased in Amsterdam (who knows, maybe he did, maybe he didn't....but it sounds about right)

posted by BornIcon at 09:20 AM on September 18

Me thinks that perhaps a few here need to travel abroad more...visit some countries in which there is a dictatorship in power.

Sure, we play the anthem at sporting events, and grade school kids say the Pledge of Allegiance, and most companies fly the flag. This is slight compared to what happens in many countries. You've seen the photos from places like North Korea, China, etc., where the ruler's picture is plastered everywhere, where people have to listen to the anthem daily, where even the slightest disrepect will be cause for severe punishment. Americans have it easy in terms of the amount of nationalistic behaviors that are expected.

As I said before, all that is needed is for one to stand there for a couple of minutes.

Or, maybe just show up late, that way you won't be bothered by the playing of our National Anthem.

As for me, at my son's high school football game this week, I plan to sing a bit louder. (my apologies to anyone that happens to be anywhere near me)

posted by dviking at 10:00 AM on September 18

I'm gonna assume that it's because this guy is an idiot and (most) everyone knows that getting into an argument with an idiot is a losing battle.

That didn't stop them from going after John Rocker :-)

Dexter Manley made it through four years of college (didn't graduate) while being illiterate

Dexter Manley sold my friend a bed at Gallery Furniture a few years back. Stay in school kids!

I don't really have anything else to add to the topic, I think dviking has summed it up very eloquently.

posted by bdaddy at 10:37 AM on September 18

That didn't stop them from going after John Rocker

Rocker was an idiot for his racist and gay bashing comments he made while playing for the Braves but it wasn't as if he disrespected the country that provided him with the financial stability to live an above moderate life.

Josh Howard is making millions playing in the United States and regardless if he were black, white, latino or asian, the least he could do is show a little respect. If he was a citizen of another country, that would be a different story and even more evil spirited but he's benefitting from playing in the USA and should show more class than this.

posted by BornIcon at 11:01 AM on September 18

Mea wrong-Howard culpa. I'd heard the story, and my brain farted.

posted by etagloh at 11:39 AM on September 18

Americans have it easy in terms of the amount of nationalistic behaviors that are expected.

I hate it when our standards of freedom are measured by what takes place in tyrannical countries, as if our goal was merely to be "better" than them.

No nationalistic behavior should be expected in this country or any other truly free country. The sentiments expressed in the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance become totally meaningless if they are compelled.

posted by rcade at 11:40 AM on September 18

urallcloolis, your ignorant in your misguided rant. At the time, the founding father wrote the Constitution in the belief that as things are currently, it will not be the same 100 years, 200 years later. They knew that ideas thoughts and technology would change. At the time it was written, slavery was not illegal and women had a lesser role in life outside the home. Should a woman say "F*** the anthem, women don't do that S***", just because at the time the anthem was written women were expected to be in the home. You know the truth??? I do too, youre an idiot. I am a Marine; I fought to keep the rights of our citizens. The right to free speech is one of the rights that we protect. When someone who has issues with the country decides to act out in his/her own way, that's theyre. That's what freedoms we have. WE also have the right to call that dumb ass Howard an A**hole. That's my right too. I'm of mixed race and I am offended by his comments, but he has his rights. I'm just wondering who the F*** gave this uneducated A**hole the right to speak for all Black people. He doesn't speak for me, that's for sure.

posted by bobbybaddasse at 11:40 AM on September 18

This guys is a total ass. Gee if a black man becomes president with it remove the permanent chip on the shoulder of this asshole, will they he still cry this isn't his country? Will we ever get past this shit? It's time to move forward. If you don't like America, work and speak responsibily to change it, move to a better country, or shut the fuck up.

posted by Atheist at 11:46 AM on September 18

urallcloolis sorry, wrong person to direct my comment to. Mars1, should have been addressed by my comment.

posted by bobbybaddasse at 11:48 AM on September 18

Absolutely he has the right to say what he wants. There's nothing illegal about it. That being said, he should know better. I will feel no sympathy for him if the fallout around this costs him his job in Dallas. Maybe New Jersey would be a better fit...

posted by Tinman at 12:15 PM on September 18

Americans have it easy in terms of the amount of nationalistic behaviors that are expected.

Compared to military dictatorships? Well, that's nice. Perhaps you need to travel to a wider range of countries, because the US retains some really odd vestigial characteristics where military parades and flag-worship are passed off as 'How We're So Free'. Nah, not buying that.

Look, I do think that Howard (D.) has fuck-all to whine about here other than his own personal annoyance, born of ignorance, and he's paid a lot of money to keep that to himself. But I also think that some aspects of Tommie Smith's line still hold: "If I win, I am American, not a black American. But if I did something bad, then they would say I am a Negro."

posted by etagloh at 12:16 PM on September 18

I'm with Howard. I hate all forms of forced shows of fake patriotism. Patriotism is teaching your kids about the Constitution, not memorizing the pledge of allegiance. Patriotism is participating in your country's elections not participating in the National Anthem. The flag, the anthem, the pledge of allegiance are not our country. They are a flag, a song, and a saying, and that's it.

Barack Obama may be forced to denounce Josh Howard, but I can't imagine any other black person caring one whit.

posted by bperk at 12:47 PM on September 18

"Could anyone out there in spofi land explain to me why there would be a causal relationship between not "celebrating" the national anthem and being black?"

Slavery was covered (not outlawed) several times in the constitution. First, in the enumeration clause, Slaves were counted as 3/5's of a person (Northerners wanted them counted as mules or horses. Southerners wanted them counted as "whole people").

In article 1, section 9, congress is expressly limited from prohibiting the importation of slaves until 1808.

And there's the Fugitive Slave clause in which the laws of one state do not excuse a person from service or labor in another state. In other words, if a slave escapes, he must be returned to his owner.

This is not ancient history. It's the single most important document in U.S. history.

Slavery existed until 143 years ago. The civil rights act was only passed 44 years ago. And I think most of us agree that racism, in some form or another, still exists.

This is NOT to say I agree with Howard. Or the way he said it. In fact, it's kind of ironic that he chooses to say this when an African American man is running for President, a watershed moment in race relations in the U.S.

But there is a clear history of racism in this country. Howard does come off like a bonehead. But that doesn't mean that what he says has absolutely no merit.

posted by cjets at 01:16 PM on September 18

Wow, this thread isn't going the way I expected when I opened it. I figured a few people would be praising Howard for standing up for what he believes in (which I doubt he even knows what he believes in), and few people calling for his head, and the rest just kinda shaking their head. But, a surprisingly and IMHO disappointingly large number of people are actually siding with him and using this as an opportunity to

The flag, national anthem, and pledge of allegiance are not just objects as some of you would like us to believe - they are representations of what it means to be an American - just like voting, Free Speech, and learning our history. I'm not happy with several things about this country, but I damn well am not going to disparage a significant sign of respect for this country to demonstrate that. I don't like everything that my parents have ever done, but they're by-in-large vary good people, so I don't walk up to people who are giving their parents a hug and tell them "you fuckin' wimp - my parents should just leave me the hell alone."

It's a matter of respect. If you don't want to participate then don't. And, if you feel so negatively toward this country as to go to the extra step, then you truly should find another place to reside, and don't hold it against me if I have a few choice words for you on the way out.

posted by littleLebowski at 01:44 PM on September 18

Crap - did I miss the "preview comment" button or something? sorry.

Anyway, meant to add to the middle of my rant : I'm with Howard. I hate all forms of forced shows of fake patriotism. Exsqueeze me, but who the F are you to tell me that my patriotism is fake? I love folks that are confident enough in their omnipotence to instruct me on what is and is not patriotic. I agree with the Constitution and voting points you make, but don't tell me that because I happen to value the pledge of allegiance and national anthem, that I'm fake. something I think rcade said that these things are meaningless if they are compelled. I agree to an extent - I don't do those things because I am forced (has someone in this group had a gun put to their head to sing?) - I do these things because I personally value them. If you want to me explain to me why you don't participate, that's fine, but don't consider me a lemming because I choose to do so.

And cjets, you've missed some earlier points. There are things that this country should be ashamed of, and still should to this day. But, the national anthem, other than having been written a long time ago, is not mentioned in any part of your dissertation and the song makes no reference in support of slavery or anything else that is "less than great" about this country.

I value and would argue to the ends of the earth for your (not pointing at anyone in this thread, other than Josh Howard) free speech ... and my free speech, which I'll choose to use to turn around and point out why you're being a jackass for being so disrespectful (again, don't sing if you don't want, I won't say anything, but don't go out of your way to bash it, either).

posted by littleLebowski at 01:58 PM on September 18

"the national anthem, other than having been written a long time ago, is not mentioned in any part of your dissertation and the song makes no reference in support of slavery or anything else that is "less than great" about this country."

The National Anthem represents our country. If someone wanted to take a principled stand against the treatment of Blacks in the U.S. and chose not to sing the National Anthem, that's their right.

I personally would not agree with them. But I would not think that their claim is completely without merit either.

By the way, L.L., dissertation? I'm flattered.

posted by cjets at 02:16 PM on September 18

Exsqueeze me, but who the F are you to tell me that my patriotism is fake?

I don't think I said any such thing. I was making a statement about whether it is even a show of patriotism to stand for the Anthem. If Howard stood up for the flag and thought about what he was having for dinner, is he patriotic? Is he less so for not bothering with the pretense? Does it matter that he stands for it more than a hundred times year? If he votes, he is more patriotic in my book than slightly less than half of Americans who don't bother - whether he stands for the Anthem or not.

I don't like when people use patriotism as a weapon. I don't like when people decide that they get to test everyone else for patriotism or set up thresholds that people must meet before they are patriotic. You can choose to express your love of this country through song if you so choose. I'd just appreciate the same respect for Americans who choose to express that some other way.

posted by bperk at 02:34 PM on September 18

What do you mean, "I don't think I said any such thing"? I copied "fake patriotism" from your post.

Regardless, funny enough, I'm fairly close to your and cjets' sentiments, but you just seem to be carrying it to an extreme that I disagree with. If all we were talking about was "chose not to sing the National Anthem, that's their right. I personally would not agree with them. But I would not think that their claim is completely without merit either." or "whether he stands for the Anthem or not. ... I'd just appreciate the same respect for Americans who choose to express that some other way.", I'd be done talking and I'd actually defend that stance. But Howard didn't simply choose not to sing - he chose to go the extra step of foul-mouthingly disrespect the anthem. THAT'S the part of this that some people here seem to be praising him for and is what I take exception. Again, don't say the Pledge or sing the Anthem - fine. Live and let live. Badmouth the flag, Pledge or Anthem simply as something you think is stupid - fine (freedom of speech). But "live and let live" no longer applies. My freedom of speech now kicks in and you're going to hear about how wrong I think you are.

posted by littleLebowski at 03:13 PM on September 18

Why does it matter what Josh Howard says? Does this fall under that whole "athletes are role models" thing again? He can feel free to say whatever he wants...he just has to be prepared for the inevitable backlash from something like this. He obviously doesn't care what you think, so why should we care what he thinks?

posted by bcb2k2 at 03:19 PM on September 18

'he chose to go the extra step of foul-mouthingly disrespect the anthem. THAT'S the part of this that some people here seem to be praising him for and is what I take exception.'

I did say he was a bonehead in my first post. When I talk about someone taking a principled stand, I am NOT talking about Howard.

But the general notion that a black man may have issues with the U.S., and, as a result, chooses not to stand for the Anthem, is not without merit.

And yes, you're absolutely right. Just as he has the first amendment right to disrespect the anthem, you have that same right to tell him how wrong he is.

posted by cjets at 03:29 PM on September 18

Cuz that's kind of why we spend time on SpoFi. We kill some time talking about what athletes in the news do and say.

And cjets, point taken. What I was trying to get at was that Howard sounded like a dumbass for not getting into his meaning. If he had looked into the camera and said "I don't respect the national anthem of a country which has treated Afircan-Americans so poorly throughout its history," I would certainly respect that. I just don't feel he made any sort of causal connection, nor do I feel he was implicitly trying to say that. I just think he was being a shit-talking dummy who thought he was clever in gurning on a song that many hold dear.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:35 PM on September 18

"I just think he was being a shit-talking dummy who thought he was clever in gurning on a song that many hold dear."

Yeah, I'd pretty much agree with that as well.

posted by cjets at 03:50 PM on September 18

I'd like to see the anthem, the flag and the pledge being used a lot more thoughtfully than they currently are. The way things are now, I don't think there's a lot of cause for complaint if people talk, scratch their heads, fail to take off their hats, wonder if coach is finally gonna put 'em in, think about what's for dinner, or grumble about what bullshit this is.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:12 PM on September 18

I'm torn, lbb. Part of me says that acknowledging those things are such simple and brief ways of acknowledging our respect for what we have as individuals and as a country, then why not. But, I definitely see the logic that overuse reduces their impact - maybe even generates apathy or even mild forms of contempt.

posted by littleLebowski at 04:36 PM on September 18

Understand where you're coming from, lL. My comment is part of a larger wish, of course, that we are a little more thoughtful about our patriotism -- not thoughtful as in considerate, but literally thought-full. I also think that there's a very real danger that "acknowledging our respect for what we have" has turned into "refusing to acknowledge that some of us still don't have". That doesn't make a country stronger -- rather the opposite.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 05:07 PM on September 18

Howard's an idiot and it's his right to prove it. The American flag, Pledge and National Anthem should be respected but that's a personal choice. Many times I stood in the crease and sang along with "Oh Canada" yet luckily I'm not Canadian. Maybe Howard would have been happier if they had played "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" which is considered by some to be the "Black National Anthem". that's one that I won't stand up for because I find it to be a sad comentary on everything that Dr. King preached and stood for. I'm a rare conservative that believes that burning the American flag in protest is the highest form of free political speech. The 1st admendment does give us freedom of speech but it was placed in the Bill of Rights to make sure political speech was protected. Just try yelling fire in a theater or "BOMB" at airport security. To address what some one brought up about blacks not being considered a complete person in the constitution, that had very little to do with slavery itself. That's there because the slave states didn't want to give the slaves any rights but they wanted them to count as full persons for the purpose of being able to count them when it came time to assigning the number of delegates that the slave states could send to the congress. The free states wouldn't go for that so you have the partial person clause. Yup, America's a bully and to that I say...bully. I'm proud to be an American and I don't mind standing at a football game or anywhere that they choose to play it.

posted by budman13 at 05:31 PM on September 18

lL, I said something about fake patriotism, I didn't say anything about your patriotism.

I wouldn't really characterize my position as extreme, but I fundamentally disagree that showing respect for the Anthem is the same as (or as worthwhile as) showing respect for this country. And, further that showing respect for patriotism on display (Anthem, Pledge) is the same as being patriotic. Patriotism should never be used as a bludgeon to get people to submit to something, even if that something is the Anthem or the Pledge. Patriotism, like faith, need not be on display to be real and true.

posted by bperk at 05:33 PM on September 18

budman13:

Maybe Howard would have been happier if they had played "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" which is considered by some to be the "Black National Anthem". that's one that I won't stand up for because I find it to be a sad comentary on everything that Dr. King preached and stood for.

Since "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" was written 29 years before Dr. King was born, I don't see how it can be a commentary of whatever emotional flavor on anything he did.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:37 PM on September 18

Wow... this is the FIRST time a big-mouthed black athlete has disrespected the country that has enabled him to live in luxury. WTG JOSH! Now we all know you're not only a racist, but a complete idiot.

posted by Glenn at 07:29 PM on September 18

Also, I'm just wondering if you "celebrate" the millions of dollars you're paid for playing a game in this country? The fact is, this country doesn't NEED you. If you were to disappear and head back to "The Mother Land", not a soul would miss you or your perpetual antagonisms and provocations. (Better get a Dictionary - I'm sure, with your limited vocabulary, you'll need it) By the way, please take Obama with you.

posted by Glenn at 07:40 PM on September 18

lbb, The song itself whether it be "Lift Ev'ry Voice" or "Another Saturday Night" by Sam Cook is not the point that I was making. The point is that for a song to be designated as "the black national anthem" is contrary to the doctrine of unity that Dr. King preached. Maybe I'll start playing the rap group Two Live Jews and their song, "Oy It's So Hummid" during the high holy days as my Jewish National anthem. Too many men and women of all races have died for this country's freedoms to be so devisive.

posted by budman13 at 08:24 PM on September 18

"If you were to disappear and head back to "The Mother Land", not a soul would miss you or your perpetual antagonisms and provocations. By the way, please take Obama with you."

Wow, did you just tell two American citizens to go back to Africa? Maybe you should go back to that spot under the bridge you call home, Troll.

And, by the way, please take McCain, his hundred years war, failing economy, flip flops on every issue, lies and his disastrously unqualified VP with you as well.

posted by cjets at 09:06 PM on September 18

By the way, Mods, please feel free to delete my politicsfilter post as long as you delete the troll's post as well.

posted by cjets at 09:13 PM on September 18

Remember YYM's always sage advice regarding feeding the trolls. That one'll flame out on his own,

posted by tahoemoj at 09:16 PM on September 18

oops, my bad.

posted by cjets at 09:24 PM on September 18

Another dumb jock saying something dumb. He should go play in the europe league if he hates it here so much. FOAD you idiot

posted by postalmayhem at 10:01 PM on September 18

instead of urallcloolis,it should be u cant read this.I never said WE were slaves.and just as I said,I voiced my opinion and some asshole wants me to get the fuck out of the country.I love this place.you know what some dummy is going to say,and they say it anyway.

posted by mars1 at 10:39 PM on September 18

"What I was trying to get at was that Howard sounded like a dumbass for not getting into his meaning. If he had looked into the camera and said "I don't respect the national anthem of a country which has treated Afircan-Americans so poorly throughout its history," I would certainly respect that."

It's quite obvious that little Joshy doesn't have the mental capacity to think of something that deep.

Stick to hoops ass-hat.

BTW, has anyone figured out what he said about Obama at the end of this little fit.

posted by docshredder at 11:39 PM on September 18

If you were to disappear and head back to "The Mother Land", not a soul would miss you...By the way, please take Obama with you

Glenn, with comments like yours that's laced with racial undertones, I can now see why Josh Howard doesn't care to show his patriotism.

There's no need for the racist remarks. If you have something intelligent to add to discussion, feel free to do so but don't you dare share your ignorant rants with the rest of us. Go burn a cross on your own damn lawn!!

posted by BornIcon at 07:33 AM on September 19

to rcade and etagloh...I shouldn't have worded my last post the way I did. Certainly America is far better than any dictatorship in terms of the amount of nationalistic behaviors that are expected of us, that is a given. I should have added that it is really quite difficult to find any developed country that has lower expectations than the US. I've traveled fairly extensively over the past 30 years, and i have family on three continents. In every country I have visited they play their anthems at all events, and everyone is respectful. I don't think the Howard type of behavior would be accepted as well as it was here in most European countries. Ironically, it's our very freedoms which allow him to be a total ass.

Lastly, and please keep in mind that is not meant to be racist, just factual. I find it odd that Howard thinks the American flag is tainted because we used to allow slavery. As a black man I would think that he'd embrace America because we learned from our mistakes and have worked to make this a place where people of all colors can succeed, not perfect yet, but better. If one studies the slavery trade, it appears that most of Africa still utilizes slavery, in fact, there are more slaves today than there ever were in any point in history. Every race, and probably every country has experienced slavery in some form in history.

(BTW, I verified my points with several sites, not just Wiki)

Have a great day, and I hope this great country of ours treats all of you well today!

posted by dviking at 10:09 AM on September 19

I find it odd that Howard thinks the American flag is tainted because we used to allow slavery.

I would expect that history is less of an issue than how black people are still being treated in this country. You only have to take a look at this thread to see a glimpse of the kind of thinking that Howard has to deal with everyday of his life. There is just so much material here that reinforces Howard's view rather than weakens it.

posted by bperk at 10:54 AM on September 19

lbb, The song itself whether it be "Lift Ev'ry Voice" or "Another Saturday Night" by Sam Cook is not the point that I was making. The point is that for a song to be designated as "the black national anthem" is contrary to the doctrine of unity that Dr. King preached.

But you were trying to make the point by referencing a certain song, so no, it's not irrelevant which song or (as I pointed out) when it was written. You talk about the doctrine of unity that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached in the 50s and 60s, and then you cite the "Negro National Anthem" as an example of going against that -- but "Lift Every Voice" was written in 1900, at a time when African-Americans were subject to extensive de jure and de facto segregation that had the effect of preventing them from being a part of this country except as purely subservient, second-class citizens. Given that African-Americans were prevented from participating fully as citizens, the creation of a separate "national anthem" made total sense. Its use as an example erodes rather than supports your point.

BTW, "unity" was not Dr. King's only message, just the only one that a lot of people "remember" today, because they believe it's appropriate to use it to stifle any dissent. Got a problem with the state of race relations in the US today? Well then you're just making Dr. King spin in his grave, aren't you, because he preached unity and you're a big old...big old...dis-unity-er!

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:09 PM on September 19

Dear Glenn,

I work for a national organization that deals everyday with a lot of AA children. Everyday I go to work thinking I can make a difference today. Today I can touch somebody's life and make it a little bit better. Some people need hope. And a lot of overpaid athletes (not Josh Howard)offer that hope and most do a lot of good things in their communities. I have never met and AA family that has a sense that they are better than anyone else. So I ask you in all seriousness what are you doing to make it better? Have you ever volunteered your time? You should it's very rewarding. Perhaps if you understood the problems or saw it for yourself you wouldn't have such a strong opinion. If that doesn't interest you, I am sorry.

To use a Cliche I believe in: If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

Ironically, you and Josh Howard have a lot in common. You don't appreciate the things that make this country wonderful. You both have the right to say what you want, you both exercised that right. Right or wrong you both get to say what your belief's are with the only consequence being a rebuttal from the opposition. It's really a great country!

posted by adammcd at 02:15 PM on September 19

Dear adammcd,

Since my previous post was removed, I tend to disagree with your statement that we "both have the right to say what we want"... It seems to me that, unless one is in agreement with the general line of thought that the only prejudice shown in this country is exhibited by white people, the result is the usual barrage of being labeled a racist. However, to compare me to Josh Howard is a real stretch... I'm far from being a pampered, overpaid, "in yo face" person who disrespects the country that has provided me with a lavish lifestyle. It's admirable that you've spent time volunteering with AA (African-American) families, but the contempt for whites shown daily in their "music", rantings and collective hatred for white people, dissuades me from even the consideration of contributing my time and effort to do anything for people who somehow feel entitled to the hypocrisy of hating me solely because I'm white... The topic being "Josh Howard Disrespects the National Anthem", I stand by my previous comments. If Josh cannot appreciate the country, and people (of ALL races) who have propelled him to his current "status", than to hell with him. Perhaps he'd benefit from a tour of Africa, where, ironically, the slave trade is still a burgeoning commerce.

posted by Glenn at 03:51 PM on September 19

To tackle this whole controversy from a different angle, smithers brought to my attention that Mark Cuban has got some fires burning of his own as a result of posting emails he got in response to Howard's episode.

posted by Spitztengle at 04:20 PM on September 19

Wow, Spitztengle, those emails were terrible. I'm glad Cuban posted them though. Those people (and our very own Glenn) should not be allowed to hide their hatefulness with anonymity.

posted by bperk at 04:43 PM on September 19

bperk...are you saying that black people are being treated worse in this country than in Africa? Given that they still allow slavery, I'd take what they get here anyday.

Also, I'm not exactly sure what it is that Howard, and his $millions are dealing with every day of his life. I'd think most would take his situation in life over their own plights. I'm sure 99.9% of those in Africa would.

He has choices, with his money, he could go live in just about any country he wants. I hope he stays as I want him spending those millions in our economy!

now, if your point is that Howard was speaking for the masses of poor black people that being held down by "the man", that's a different story. I don't think he was speaking as such.

posted by dviking at 05:13 PM on September 19

Hey Josh Howard, YOU'RE JUST AN ASSHOLE! If you don't respect the National Anthem or our flag leave. We don't like you anyway. Why don't you try and go play in the Congo. I'm sure the Rebels would love your little black ass there. You are just another black man with a big ass chip on your shoulder and we're sick of it. You are one of the ones that are bringing down the USA so just split. You won't be missed.

posted by dman at 05:29 PM on September 19

Just read the link to Cuban's blog. Man, that ought to cause some issues in some people's lives.

A few of the fools threw down racist garbage, and then listed their work email addresses! Using company time to rant on blogs usually isn't a great idea.

One interesting fact I learned by reading further down on Cuban's site is that he acknowledges that the money he made by selling broadcast.com was "found" money as opposed to "earned" money. He equates found money as money one comes into due to luck not hard work. I don't care for the man much, but big of him to admit that.

posted by dviking at 05:47 PM on September 19

dviking, why on earth would you think I was talking about Africa? I said this country. What does Africa have to do with anything anyway? Are you suggesting that Africa should be a permanent point of reference for any black people in America? So long as it is better than Africa, there should be no complaining, right. I hope you see the problems with this line of thinking. Black people have been here longer than the vast majority of white people who emigrated later. Howard's roots probably go back further than the Kennedys, yet people still persist in talking about Africa. It just needs to stop. His right as an American is to criticize America. It doesn't make him less American to criticize America.

Howard is dealing with racism every day of his life. Look at this thread where he is called uneducated despite his degree from WFU. Look at how grateful he is supposed to be that there is a free market like he was given the gift of millions of dollars and didn't earn a damn thing. Look at all the racist freakin' commentary on this thread (wanting to send him to Africa, etc.). Look at spitz's link where Cuban posted emails from people about Howard. It is bigotry that he deals with everyday. Being rich does not make it disappear. It only makes people discount it.

Black people do not have a spokesperson to speak for all black people. It isn't Howard, it isn't Obama, it isn't Jesse Jackson, it isn't Sharpton. Howard speaks for himself, the exact same as you speak for yourself, and I speak for myself. He is not a representative of all black people. There is no such thing.

posted by bperk at 05:52 PM on September 19

I chose Africa as an example since the Black people of the USA insist on being called African-American. Why can't they just be Americans? I'm an Italian but I am an American. My ancestors have been her longer than the African-Americans and they built this country. Do we get a break? I am voicing by opinion - that's what this country is all about.

posted by dman at 07:03 PM on September 19

If Josh Howard wants to reveal himself publicly as a total idiot, that's his right. To me it is an unthinking and misplaced gesture of anger. I have nothing more to say on this.

What I do have to say relates to the manner in which the National Anthem is treated at most sporting events, particularly those with a national audience. What set me off was the Monday night game at Dallas. The announcer said something to the effect of, "Please rise for the singing of our National Anthem. Our featured ENTERTAINER (emphasis mine) tonight is ...". Right there I threw a grade A nutty. The National Anthem is a patriotic song. It is not entertainment, to be butchered by some low-talent over-egoed wannabe star. Play it properly. Get a good marching band, small orchestra, or classically trained voice to perform it. Those in attendance should stand, uncovered, with the right hand over the heart. If someone doesn't care to do this, so be it. It is his choice. Maybe some day he'll figure it out. In the meantime, please tell the producers of these events to recognize that the National Anthem is not just another song.

OK, that's my screed for the day (or month, I hope). I apologise for causing offense, but I just had to vent my feelings on this.

On preview, the same holds true for any venue in the US performing "Oh Canada". It's way too good an anthem to be messed up.

posted by Howard_T at 07:06 PM on September 19

dman is wrong,and right.all Black people of the USA dont insist on being called African-American.I for 1 hate that term.I was born here.so were my parents,grand parents,and so on.unless one of your parents was born here,and one wasnt:you are not a hyphenated american.I get so tired of people with their"if you dont like how it is here,go live somewhere thats worse" comment.just because some things are better here doesnt make it great all the time.I bet people who cant walk dont think it's great that they can still use their hands.I bet they would much rather have full use of their bodies.and to mr baddasse,unless you were fighting against bush and his asshole click,you werent fighting for my freedom.he is the one trying to take away my rights.NOT ANYONE IN AFGHANISTAN,OR IRAQ,OR BOSNIA,THE #1 ENEMY OF US CITIZEN'S RIGHTS HAS BEEN IN THE WHITE HOUSE FOR THE LAST 8 YEARS(2 IF SUBTRACT HIS VACATIONS.I RESPECT ANY SOLDIER WHO PUTS HIS LIFE ON THE LINE,NO DOUBT.BUT LETS GET REAL HERE,HIS WHOLE GAME WAS A LIE.

posted by mars1 at 08:25 PM on September 19

bperk, I said what I did since you referenced a line from my prior post in which I outlined how I find it hard to understand how Howard could say he won't celebrate the American anthem due to the flag standing for slavery, when slavery is abolished here, but not in his native Africa. Seems to me that he ought to celebrate the fact that we have moved to correct this horrible behavior. I never said he was a spokesperson for anyone except himself, which makes his statement even more confusing as he has a great life here, with financial success beyond most people's dreams.

As I stated, if he had somehow said he was saying what he did to draw attention to the plight of poor blacks that are discriminated against I'd be fine, however, I do not think he speaks for anyone except himself.

As to Howard being called uneducated by someone else, I did not say that, however, I do agree with johnnyballsack in that just because someone has a degree doesn't mean that he learned anything.

As to the racism Howard "puts up with an a daily basis"...do you really think he's reading this stuff? I don't.

posted by dviking at 10:02 PM on September 19

dviking, I'll say this one more time since you missed it last time. Howard is not African nor is he a native African. He is an American. Stop referencing Africa. It's offensive. How many hundreds of years do black people need to live in America before they become Americans in your book?

posted by bperk at 10:36 PM on September 19

bperk, maybe you take Howard's rant differently than I do. I feel that if one is going to criticize America for slavery, one ought to know what they are talking about. He does not.

If you want to accept his rants as free speech, you're welcome to that. I accept that, however I do not condone it.

Either work to make things better, or become part of the problem.

To say, while the anthem is playing, "I don't celebrate that shit, because I'm black" in reference to slavery is misguided.

As to my referring to Africa being offensive...wow, that's a stretch. I was merely clearly up some misconceptions regarding slavery. Sorry for the enlightment.

posted by dviking at 01:40 AM on September 20

bperk - Since you're apparently the salt of the earth, perhaps you should reveal your own private information and not "hide behind anonymity". -I'm not stupid enough to do so. And if you want to label me because I go against the grain by speaking my true mind, knock yourself out. The fact is, a pathetic number of black athletes have recently been involved in crimes including murder, rape, assault, firearms violations and domestic violence. Josh Howard's only crime, fortunately, is that he's dumb as a rock and doesn't understand the concept of biting the hand that feeds him. You're other soapbox, regarding "how long do blacks have to be in this country before we consider them Americans?" is pure BS as well. -The term "African-Americans" is what they prefer to be called, to the best of my knowledge. -The reason for that being that they prefer not to, or are perhaps incapable of assimilating into society instead of blaming whites for the fact that their ancestors were sold into slavery by Africans of that time period. It seems to me that everything is fine, as long as blacks, and other minorities are the only ones to exhibit any racial pride, but when a white man calls it as he sees it, in walks Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the NAACP, the ACLU, etc. etc. etc... There was a reference to Obama in the Howard video, and Obama, possibly the biggest ego in the history of mankind, attended a black seperatist church for 20 years. A church which believes that hating white people is an entitlement of blacks and not considered racism. -If you don't believe me do some research. (tucc.com) Bottom line, I have ZERO respect for those who show me no respect, this includes those wannabe "gangstas" who make it a point to turn up their devisive rap crap, and walk around like everyone should bow down to them because they can jump high and dunk a fricking basketball. A huge number of "African-Americans", with their "in-yo-face" attitude, are creating the racism they whine about whenever it serves their purpose. So, basically, why don't you come down off your pedestal and consider that racism is by no means a one-way street.

posted by Glenn at 01:41 AM on September 20

Me thinks that perhaps a few here need to travel abroad more...visit some countries in which there is a dictatorship in power.

Sure, we play the anthem at sporting events, and grade school kids say the Pledge of Allegiance, and most companies fly the flag. This is slight compared to what happens in many countries.

Funny, because the American worhsip of the flag, the anthem, pledges in the classroom - well, yes, I do find it creepy. because it's precisely what makes America look less like the free country its founders intended.

As far as "bringing shame on the African-Americans who fought for freedom" - would those be the ones who weren't allowed to fight as first-class soldiers until after World War II?

posted by rodgerd at 02:47 AM on September 20

rodgerd...exactly what country is it that doesn't play their anthem before events...I've never been there, nor heard of it.

To somehow spew about how Americans worship their flag is ridiculous. Every decent country (and most that aren't decent) have nationalistic behaviors.

Show me the country that allows whatever disrepect for their flag/anthem someone wants to show, without the slightest bit of concern.

And, please do explain how a very slight amount of worship of the flag somehow makes America not free. Seriously, how much of your precious time is consume by the National Anthem, or "forced" flag worhsip? The average person doesn't spend a minute a week on this.

Yep, I think Howard is a complete ass, i hardly infringed on his freedoms. Yep, I'd like him to stop insinuating that the US flag is somehow tainted because like every other nation we once allowed slavery, again, I have not comprimised his freedoms.

posted by dviking at 04:17 AM on September 20

rodgerd...exactly what country is it that doesn't play their anthem before events...I've never been there, nor heard of it.

How many countries have you attending sporting events in? Did they play their national anthem at every game?

Show me the country that allows whatever disrepect for their flag/anthem someone wants to show, without the slightest bit of concern.

What do you mean when you talk about a "country" "allow[ing]" this or that? Are you talking about some kind of federal legislation, and enforcement of same? Because, you know, we don't have that in the United States, thank God.

And, please do explain how a very slight amount of worship of the flag somehow makes America not free.

Reverence for the symbol and ignorance of the principles for which it stands, leads to behaviors that absolutely make the United States less free, in the form of threats, bullying behavior, ignorant jackass "back to Africa" remarks and the like.

Yep, I think Howard is a complete ass, i hardly infringed on his freedoms. Yep, I'd like him to stop insinuating that the US flag is somehow tainted because like every other nation we once allowed slavery

He never said the word "slavery". Why do you keep bringing it up?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:13 AM on September 20

I really don't get what all the fuss is about here. It's my understanding that Americans have many rights, including freedom of speech and expression. While that right is not absolute,(you cannot yell "FIRE" in a crowded theatre for instance), what Josh Howard said, while some of us may disagree with his sentiment, I don't see where he's broken any laws. That is one of the great things about the U.S.A., the right of a citizen to say an unpopular statement. With regard to the neanderthals who have remarked that he should "go back to Africa", why would he do that. If you want to send him back to his homeland, you should send him to North Carolina. After all, that's where he's from, where he was born. If I've missed something please enlighten me. Realize that I'm observing this tempest in a teapot from across your northern border.

posted by tommytrump at 10:53 AM on September 20

I've been to sporting events in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Germany. Anthems were played in every stadium. People respected the songs, even when it was the US anthem being played.

You have to be kidding me to say that you are less free because you're expected to just stand while the anthem is being played. Or, as was pointed out before, you can go get another beer. Oh my, the restictions we put on people in this land of ours!

Slavery was brought into the thread by people justifying why a black man "doesn't celebrate this shit". The flag, and the anthem, are tainted due to slavery being a part of our past. My arguement is if slavery is being held against the US flag, he has to hold it to every flag.

I'll end my post with this bit of enlightment for those of you that think flag worship is somehow out of hand in the US. Which country was it that did not drape it's athletes in their flags when they won a medal at the olympics? Anthems were played, respect was given. Disrespect at the olympics, even when done by participants from the country whose anthem was being played, does not go over well. The reaction to Howard's behavior is pretty universal.

posted by dviking at 12:48 PM on September 20

Sorry, meant that last post to include this.

In terms of "freedom", Howard is free to be disrepectful, as are all of us. I don't advocate his being arrested, sent back anywhere, nor do I condone any type of threats against his safety.

I also have the freedom to believe that he was a complete ass, out of line, and extremely misguided in his thinking.

Freedom is a relative word, of course, we do not have 100% freedom, as anarchy would rule the day. You are not less free if you are expected to some respect for the dead, your mother, your teachers, and the perhaps the national anthem. Respect is also a relative term, and again, I will ask you to tell me which country it is that does not expect a minimum of respect for their flag and/or their anthem. Perhaps there's some third world country being run by militants in which that is the case, but all of the "free" countries I have visited show respect for their flag.

posted by dviking at 01:03 PM on September 20

During a ceremony where the flag is hoisted or lowered, or when the flag is passing in a parade, all persons present, except for those in uniform, should face the flag while standing at attention with the right hand over the heart. Hats should be removed and held in the right hand at the left shoulder with the hand over the heart. Those present in uniform should salute. The same rules apply when the national anthem is played. (South African law)

According to the French law[13], outraging the French national anthem or the French flag is liable for a fine of 7,500 and 6 months of incarceration if performed in a gathering. (French law)

Just thought I'd share some information from other "free' countries, to help calm anyone's fears that we're getting out of hand with our nationalistic expectations here in the US.

Okay, I think I'm done, you're all "free" to go about your days. Try not to burn a flag unless you're really pissed off about how America is treating you.

posted by dviking at 02:07 PM on September 20

Try not to burn a flag unless you're really pissed off about how America is treating you.

Or if the flag is no longer in a condition fitting for display.

posted by tommytrump at 02:57 PM on September 20

"'The Star-Spangled Banner' is going on. I don't celebrate this [expletive]. I'm black." Equates his beliefs with that of every other black American. Smart.

On another note he shows he's right in tune with people his age and younger. Speaking seemingly private thoughts right into a camera or microphone without considering that they might come back to hurt him. Straight out of the MySpace YouTube Facebook generation.

posted by Newbie Walker at 06:17 AM on September 21

but the contempt for whites shown daily in their "music", rantings and collective hatred for white people, dissuades me from even the consideration of contributing my time and effort to do anything for people who somehow feel entitled to the hypocrisy of hating me solely because I'm white...

Glenn, the last thing I'm going to do is get into a verbal battle with you because you're an idiot, plain & simple! For you to claim that black people hate you because you're white is downright ignorant and being ignorant is why you're hated in the first place. Let me give you a little piece of advice: Get your head out of your ass and take a good look at the world around you. People of all different races and backgrounds can all get along if truly given a chance.

There are many idiotic people of all races and you're showing that you are one white person that is totally lost. Wake up and realize that regardless of your skin color, you and Josh Howard do in fact have alot of similarities because you both need a swift kick in the ass.

posted by BornIcon at 09:56 AM on September 22

dviking:

You have to be kidding me to say that you are less free because you're expected to just stand while the anthem is being played. Or, as was pointed out before, you can go get another beer. Oh my, the restictions we put on people in this land of ours!

There are a lot of people talking in here, so it's kind of pointless when you make "you" statements without making clear who it is you're talking about, or whether you're speaking generically. It also helps if you reference statements that people have actually made, rather than a strawman statement that's easy to attack. If, however, you want someone to go there, I will oblige, and try to impart an important principle at the same time. I am, in fact, less free because I'm expected to stand for the national anthem. I don't mind doing so, but I am less free when that expectation is placed on me, when it is enforced by anything ranging from sniffy looks from my neighbors, to some self-proclaimed "patriot" with a made-in-China yellow ribbon decal deciding to key-job my car, to a stadium official deciding to toss me out of my paid-for seat. I am less free when my behavior is coerced, and if you deny this, you are simply humpty-dumptying the definition of freedom, the definition of coercion, or probably both. And -- here's the important principle -- it does not matter a damn whether you think the restriction is trivial. It exists. That's enough.

Slavery was brought into the thread by people justifying why a black man "doesn't celebrate this shit". The flag, and the anthem, are tainted due to slavery being a part of our past. My arguement is if slavery is being held against the US flag, he has to hold it to every flag.

So, because they brought in a point that Howard did not make, you can therefore use it as a strawman for your argument? That makes no sense at all. Find out what Howard meant by "I'm black", then go from there.

I'll end my post with this bit of enlightment for those of you that think flag worship is somehow out of hand in the US. Which country was it that did not drape it's athletes in their flags when they won a medal at the olympics?

As my late lamented grandfather would have said, "This is not a competition to see who's the worst." The argument that other countries have a worse record of coerced patriotic fervor has already been raised and shot down in this thread; it won't fly any better now for the experience.

Freedom is a relative word, of course, we do not have 100% freedom, as anarchy would rule the day.

That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Anarchy, by the way, is not chaos, which I think is what you're really trying to get at here.

You are not less free if you are expected to some respect for the dead, your mother, your teachers, and the perhaps the national anthem.

So, define "some respect". If my idea of "respect" differs from yours, what then? And what if my sacred symbols are not the same as yours? Must you revere my symbols as you want me to revere the national anthem, mom, apple pie, etc.? And is that true no matter what those symbols are?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:25 AM on September 22

LLB, I was about to just let this whole thread go, as I think we've all said about enough regarding this. I've made my points, you've made yours. However, I shall respond to a few of your points, in the order of my choosing...why? It's a "Free" country of course.

1)"That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. Anarchy, by the way, is not chaos, which I think is what you're really trying to get at here." That statement earns you both chiding and enlightenment. First the chiding. As my late lamented grandfather would have said," before you critique someone else's word usage, you might want to check your Websters" The very definition of anarchy is chaos. At least it is in both my Merriam Webster and my Random House dictionaries. The enlightenment is to point out that anarchy has been the rule of the day on many occasions in many countries. Never have the people decided to keep it that way. A few restrictions on our "freedoms" is generally a good thing. You wouldn't want your neighbor taking shots at you just because he could.

2) "So, define "some respect". If my idea of "respect" differs from yours, what then? And what if my sacred symbols are not the same as yours? Must you revere my symbols as you want me to revere the national anthem, mom, apple pie, etc.? And is that true no matter what those symbols are?"

No one ever said we each have to show the same level of respect to anything, talk about throwing a strawman arguement into the fray. I clearly stated that you're free to go get another beer, stand there and prioritize your day, go to the restroom, whatever. I clearly understand that not all people will care to sing along, or even pay attention.

3) As to your rant about being less free if restrictions are being placed on you. I love the way you chide me for using a strawman arguement, and then throw a bunch of your own in. When did anyone say it was okay for someone to key-job your car, or a stadium official to throw you out if you don't stand at playing of the anthem? I most certainly did not. I clearly stated that there are restictions on our behavior, so to accuse me of, (how did you put it?) humpty-dumptying the definition of freedom, is a bit out of line. Do you feel coerced when you stop at a red light? Maybe you do, I fully understand the reasoning behind limiting my freedom to drive however the hell I want.

4) My reference to the various countries that also exhibit a requirement for a minimum of respect to be shown their flags/anthems was merely to show that we are not out of hand in the expectations put on us here in America, in fact we tend to the light side on restictions. Thus, we are more "free" here in America than in most countries. We're the best, not anywhere near the worst, I'm sure your grandfather would be proud. Ironically, if he comes from my grandfather's generation I'm sure he'd understnd exactly what I'm saying. However, I do not intend to speak for your grandfather, only mine. His WWII veteran butt would kick my ass if I disrespected the flag or the anthem.

posted by dviking at 08:41 PM on September 22

sorry, rambling too long

5) Lastly, yes, I threw out a very general "you" instead of targeting one specific statement. You have known me well enough to know I understand the priciple of highlighting a statement that you're referring to, but thanks for the clarification. I threw out the "you" because there were multiple posts lamenting the loss of their 'freedom" due to expectations being put on them to show some respect. I will still say that your freedoms are not comprimised due to the expectations on showing respect to the flag, because of the myriad of choices available to you. Avoid situations in which the flag will be presented, go to the bathroom, get a beer, simply stand there and pay no attention whatsoever, or make videos of yourself stating why you don't celebrate this shit. After all, no one has arrested Howard, he hasn't been fired, and he is free to do whatever he pleases tonight. For me, that's to go watch MNF and hope that Sproles can gain 150 yards and knock down 2 TD's. My fantasy team is counting on him!

posted by dviking at 08:41 PM on September 22

Yikes...a correction...my grandfather's WWI veteran butt would kick my ass if I disrespected the flag. He would have been very upset over that slight on his record.

posted by dviking at 10:54 PM on September 22

I've been to sporting events in Canada, Mexico, Japan, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Germany. Anthems were played in every stadium. People respected the songs, even when it was the US anthem being played.

International competitions? Well, that's clearly anthem territory. School competitions? Not so much. And since you've never visited Britain: they don't have 'God Save The Queen' and flaggery and people marching around in uniform when two under-16 first XIs play football. Or at Premier League matches, for that matter.

Americans do the flag-and-anthem stuff an awful lot for sporting events, regardless of how important they are. Really. This doesn't make Howard any less of a silly gobshite. It does mean, though, that you're arguing apples and oranges: when the French and South African anthems get played at sporting events, it signifies that they are considered of national importance.

(Oh, and on public radio in Australia, the two comedians who do the play-by-play for the three-game State of Origin rugby series and the Aussie Rules final replace the singing of 'Advance Australia Fair' with 'I Thank You' by Lionel Rose.)

posted by etagloh at 11:54 PM on September 24

The games in northern Europe were not international events. Though, some were youth leagues, so I'm sure that may play into it.

I doubt any of the events I took in were considered of national impotance, mostly youth, school, professional games, nothing on the lines of a World Cup event.

While I have never been to Britain, a few co-workers assure me that one does hear God Sve The Queen at most events...I'll take them at their word on it.

I'm pretty well done with this.

posted by dviking at 01:23 AM on September 25

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