With college football season officially starting today and Labor Day just around the corner, I wanted to address a troubling incident at a sporting event I attended this past spring. The Miami Hurricanes were in Raleigh to play NC State in basketball. Before the contest, the announcer addressed the crowd with the typical “take off you hats…we’re doing the National Anthem now” message.
Everything was pretty normal until the line “and the rocket’s red glare” came up. The whole crowd shouted “red” as this is one of the school’s colors. Not classy, but I wasn’t mortally offended. The last line of the Anthem, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave” was changed to, by a good portion of the crowd, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the Wolfpack.”
My husband has worked some games for a rival of NC State and said this exact thing happened when the two schools played a couple months ago. I get that individual fans do stupid things at sporting events. I know we probably have some individuals or groups that yell “home of the ‘Canes” at Miami but nothing this widespread. I know there are idiots at Miami games. I’ve witnessed more than my fair share of trashy behavior at Florida, FSU, Ohio State, and Notre Dame…but nothing this widespread.
Defenders of this practice say this is a way for Wolfpack fans to put a “home spin” on a pregame tradition. Um…it’s a United States tradition. The fans in our section (we were two of about ten UM people in the entire place) did not appreciate it when my husband shouted “have some class” at the conclusion of the Anthem.
This truly seemed to be something that was organized and condoned by the university. It probably isn’t, but the university administration ought to do something about it because it is really low class. It is a poor reflection on the university, and they don’t act like this at Carolina or Duke (regardless of what you’ve heard about the Cameron Crazies).
If this happened at the University of Miami, I guarantee you the university president would send an email to the student body and season ticket holders directing them to stop. The head football and/or basketball coach would put an ad in the student newspaper. While the National Anthem is being played, we are all Americans. Take off your hat, put away your phone, and close your mouth for three minutes.