Debate Erupts: Black National Anthem Sparks Controversy at Super Bowl


The Controversial Black National Anthem at the Super Bowl: Uniting or Dividing?

Since the summer of 2020, amidst the racial unrest and COVID-19 pandemic, the Black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” has held a controversial place in the NFL’s Super Bowl pre-game festivities.

The NAACP’s Endorsement and Division

First promoted as the Black national anthem by the NAACP in 1917, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has recently sparked debate when performed before the Super Bowl. The decision to include it has divided social media, with some embracing it as a symbol of inclusion and others condemning it as divisive.

Sage Steele’s Outspoken Views

Former ESPN star Sage Steele voiced her objections on her podcast, “The Sage Steele Show.” She dismissed the Black national anthem as “ridiculous” and questioned the need for separate anthems, emphasizing that all Americans share “The Star-Spangled Banner.” She argued that “shoving it down people’s throats” was counterproductive to racial unity.

The Republican Backlash

Steele’s comments echoed the sentiments of Republican politicians. Rep. Matt Gaetz criticized the Super Bowl for “desecrating America’s National Anthem” with the Black national anthem, while Rep. Mike Loychik denounced it as divisive, arguing that there is only one American anthem.

Andra Day’s Performance and the NFL’s Stance

Despite the backlash, Andra Day performed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at Super Bowl LVIII, sparking further controversy. The NFL has maintained that the inclusion of the Black national anthem is a gesture of unity and inclusivity, aiming to honor the diverse heritage of the nation.

Uniting or Dividing: The Ongoing Debate

The Black national anthem at the Super Bowl remains a contentious topic. While some view it as a necessary representation of racial equity, others see it as a divisive reminder of societal fractures. The debate continues to play out in public discourse, with no clear consensus in sight.

Additional Points

  • Sage Steele has since apologized for her comments, acknowledging that they were insensitive and hurtful.
  • The NAACP has emphasized that “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is a song of celebration, resilience, and unity.
  • The NFL’s inclusion of the Black national anthem is part of a broader effort to promote diversity and inclusivity in sports.

As the Super Bowl approaches each year, the debate over the Black national anthem is likely to resurface. Whether it unites or divides the nation remains an open question, reflecting the ongoing challenges and complexities of racial discourse in American society.