February 10, 2021

O, Say Can You See!

I saw today that the Dallas Mavericks have quit playing the National Anthem before games. It got me thinking:

Taxpayers fund or help fund sports stadiums.

Between 1990 and 2010, 84 new facilities were built for the 122 teams playing in the four largest professional sports leagues. The combined construction cost was $34 billion, with $20 billion coming from public funding.

In fact, there are few policy topics on which economists agree more – only one out of 35 of the top economists polled by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business believes that the benefits of sports subsidies outweigh their costs to taxpayers.

If we subsidize sports for the “public good” they better recognize the fact they should promote the public good. Getting rid of the National Anthem is a slap in the face. It’s the one reminder who that stadium is supposed to be for, the public.

Let’s just examine what offends the Mavericks so much:

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the "Defence of Fort M'Henry", a poem written on September 14, 1814, by 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

Verse 1 of 4 actual verses:

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,

O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

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