The National Football League has finally taken a stand for our country, our flag, and our military by requiring that players either show their respect or stay off the field during the singing of our national anthem. This decision followed months of allowing players to protest during the anthem, angering many NFL fans and resulting in a significant drop in TV ratings.
The NFL’s declaration sent a ripple across the sports world, so it came as quite a surprise to the crowd at a softball game in central California when the announcer said there’d be no singing of the anthem before the start of the game.
The announcement was made before a softball championship Friday evening at the start of Memorial Day weekend in Fresno, California, the Fresno Bee reported. It was met with a loud chorus of boos from fans. Tiffany Marquez, who was in attendance, described what happened next, according to CBS News.
"Honestly, I was shocked [when] the announcer stated, 'There will be no anthem, let's just play softball,'" she said. "Within seconds, you could hear people in the crowd singing and the volume of their voices building. There I was, standing in the middle of a true testament to unity and patriotism."
Marquez said the crowd rose as one, singing the “Star Spangled Banner” as players from both teams on the field stood respectfully and sang, too. The moment the song ended, the stadium erupted in cheers.
Event coordinator Bob Kayajanian admitted afterward that he had made a huge mistake with his decision to omit the anthem. He said he was just doing things the way they’d been done before.
"The national protocol is the first game of the session you have the national anthem," he said. "The games after that are just played. We got caught (off-guard). Both the teams turned to face the field and they all started singing the national anthem. They started to play some music and the people took that as the national anthem and they all started singing, which I think is obviously a wonderful thing to show off their patriotism.”
He added that he wouldn’t make that mistake again, saying, “It’s all a learning experience for everyone and [going forward] we’re playing the national anthem at every game.”
Fresno Bee sports writer Anthony Galaviz was able to capture the whole crowd singing.
Numerous Twitter followers expressed their gratitude to the teams and to their fans for the example they set.