WEEI

Red Sox have no plans to discontinue 'God Bless America' at Fenway, despite official's reported opposition to song

Alex Reimer
May 14, 2018 - 3:47 pm

Howard Bryant’s latest long-winded essay about racial division in professional sports contains remarks from an anonymous “high-ranking Red Sox official” about his desire for the team to stop playing "God Bless America" at Fenway Park. 

“Recently a high-ranking Red Sox official told me — nearly 17 years after the towers fell — that he really doesn’t know why the team still plays ‘God Bless America,’ but he knows this: The team would ‘get killed’ publicly if it was the first team to stop doing it,” Bryant writes.

Despite the “high-ranking official’s” opposition to “God Bless America,” the Red Sox told WEEI.com in an email the song is here to stay. 

“There have been no discussions about discontinuing God Bless America at Fenway Park, which we play on Sundays and holidays,” said club spokeswoman Zineb Curran.

MLB encouraged its teams to play “God Bless America” in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, when the Padres first used the song during the seventh-inning stretch. Since then, every team has adopted the patriotic jingle as an in-game staple, though many clubs now only play it on Sundays and holidays –– like the Red Sox. The Yankees play it during every home game.

The debate over the appropriateness of patriotic displays at professional sporting events came to a head in 2015, when it was revealed the Pentagon paid at least 50 teams for ceremonies that honor American soldiers. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake from Arizona, both Republicans, called on teams to donate the money instead.

Author Sheryl Kaskowitz, who wrote a book on the origins of “God Bless America,” found in a 2013 poll that 61 percent of baseball fans don’t want the song played at games anymore. 

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