Bettors at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as the national anthem was played prior to N.F.L. games on Sunday. Some players continued to kneel.Crmodify...Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

CARSON, Calif. — At the minute the public-attend to announcer asked fans to climb and kindly rerelocate their caps for the national anthem, the men’s room behind Section 108 remained in complete usage, with dozens more waiting in a line that streamed out the door.

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At the concession stand, beers kept pouring. Cash retained altering hands. The 11 steel detectors below at the StubHub Center’s enattempt gates each had actually more than 50 world lined up to come through. The devices maintained beeping.

Most rerelocated their caps, yet not all did. A young man through a rubber Eagle mask (the Los Angeles Chargers were playing the Philadelphia Eagles) retained it propped on his head. A girl spooned a slushy concoction right into her mouth, turning her lips blue. A male and woman nudged their means through those standing still and talked with the song around the ideal way to find their seats the moment it ended. They did not want to miss the kickoff.

As players continue being judged by their postures throughout “The Star-Spangled Banner,” perhaps it is fair to turn the lens around. Those who have invested the majority of time in stadiums and arenas recognize that they are hardly ever sanctuaries of patriotic conformity and decorum.


Across the N.F.L. on Sunday, the scenes were acquainted, beginning long prior to the games started. Anthem singers rehearsed their renditions in empty places prefer M & T Bank Stadium in Baltieven more, and the words and also melody carried deep right into the bordering parking lots, which were thick via revelers and also barbecue smoke. When the song swept via, tailgaters continued eating, drinking and also playing games, unrelocated. It was not the moment or place to pause for the nationwide anthem, apparently.

Fans were much more attentive in the minutes prior to the game, at least in the seating locations. On a large, wide walkway at the open finish of the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium straight overlooking the area, numerous dozen fans ambled roughly throughout the anthem, indifferent to the song or the presentation of the flag by a color guard on the field.

At MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., a secure circulation of guys gone into and exited the restroom in the time of the anthem, though it was audible with the concourse. Of the hundreds that passed close to the aisle leading to Sections 103 and 104, a tiny percentage stopped, rerelocated their hats and held their hands on their hearts. People in concession lines continued their transactions.

At AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Tex., where the Dallas Cowboys were playing the Los Angeles Rams, many kind of fans elevated their arms in the time of the anthem — some in a fist as a authorize of protest, maybe, however far even more holding a cellphone high to better record what the players were doing.

Green Bay quarterago Aaron Rodgers wryly noted the contradictions natural in the anthem-respect debate as soon as he posted a photograph on Instagram last week, mirroring photographers crouched at the feet of Rodgers and his teammates, aiming camperiods at them.


“I can’t imagine what type of social media attacks these cameramales must be enin the time of after taking a knee throughout the anthem and wearing a hat,” Rodgers created.

If nopoint else, an air of anticipation surrounds the anthem currently, whether borne of patriotism or of curiosity.

But as component of the game-day suffer, the anthem has constantly meant various things to various world. For some, it is somepoint to cherish; for others, something to endure. For a lot of, it is the best signal that the game is about to start.

Until the past couple of weeks, the anthem was rarely watched by tv viewers; it was a time for broadcasters to show commercials. At stadiums, seats are usually not yet complete.

The anthem itself is a two-minute pausage amid the anticipation of a violent game, and guidelines for decorum are greatly unwritten and also local. Many type of fans use the lyrics to expush home-team allegiances. Kansas City fans shout that theirs is the house of the “Chiefs!” rather than “the brave” at the end of the song. It is not unprevalent for people to pierce the pasupplies between lines to express love for the residence team or disdain for the tourists. Imagine a player doing that.


The USA Code, in Title 4, Chapter 1, provides standards for presenting and also respecting the Amerideserve to flag. They are not enforceable. After all, in Texas v. Johnkid in 1989, the Supreme Court upheld the First-Amendment right to burn the flag.


Fans at the New England Patriots’ game against the Carolina Panthers in Foxborough.Crmodify...Brian Snyder/Reuters

The code says that armed forces personnel must stand at attention and salute when the flag is increased, lowered, or as soon as it passes, and also others “must face the flag and stand also at attention through their appropriate hand also over the heart, or if applicable, rerelocate their hedeal with through their ideal hand and organize it at the left shoulder, the hand also being over the heart.”


If you have been to an N.F.L. stadium, you have actually more than likely noticed many in the crowd doing that. You have probably noticed plenty of others not.

The present dispute started last year once among the N.F.L’s around 1,700 players sat for the national anthem. The player, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, quickly shifted to kneeling rather of sitting, and also he was clear around his motivation: To speak to attention to racial injustice, consisting of a string of killings of unequipped African-Americans by the police.

His position — the physical one, at leastern — angered many kind of Americans. Critics sassist his mere posture was the ultimate authorize of disrespect.

Yet as he knelt, Kaepernick challenged the flag and also solemnly kept his gaze ahead. He showed up to pay attention to the proceedings. He was not on his phone, he was not in a beer line, he was not chewing on nachos — all things that take place plenty of times in the time of an anthem at simply around any kind of sporting event in this nation.

Still, the reason has actually remained at the forefront of the nationwide discourse, as President Trump aobtain trumpeted the concern through the weekend, start with a tweet on Saturday evening.

“Very crucial that NFL players STAND tomorrow, and also constantly, for the playing of our National Anthem,” he composed. “Respect our Flag and our Country!”


So what counts as proper, and who decides? What if your hands are complete bereason you execute not have actually a area to set your warm dogs? What if your hat is part of the costume and cannot be rerelocated easily? One male in at the Atlanta Falcons’ game on Sunday wore a red, white and blue mask over his face throughout the anthem, increasing the question of whether a wrong can ever before be a appropriate.

Can you scratch an itch? Take a sip? Look at a text? Can you nod at the beer vendor so that he’ll market you a drink once the song is over?

What if you are on the concourse, out of watch of the field? Can you store walking? Can you proceed to use the urinal if you hear the anthem through the bathroom doors?

Is the a lot of essential part to “stand also,” or to be “at attention?” Since Kaepernick, and the majority of who have actually knelt given that, broke only one of these quasi-rules.

Many type of — including the president, most pointedly — have actually criticized the N.F.L. for producing the dispute by not requiring players to stand also at attention. Others indicate that the flap would certainly not have actually arisen had actually the N.F.L. not forced groups to be on the field for the anthem, a manday that began in 2009.

The sporting activities world’s trend towards massive productions often overwhelms out the the aristocracy and also solemnity of the anthem. For instance, the code additionally claims that the flag “must never be carried flat or horizontally.” The code does not specify if it is proper for a flag 100 yards lengthy to be organized parallel to the ground, or shaken by the people holding it as soon as the anthem gets to lyric “that star-spangled banner yet wave,” and then wincluded up hastily to make means for a game about to begin.

The code states that the flag have to not be worn as a costume, but “a flag patch may be afresolved to the uniform of military personnel, fire fighters, police policemans, and members of patriotic institutions.” The N.F.L., reportedly, has actually deemed itself one of those, as U.S. flag decals adorning the earlier of player helmets.


It can be tough to know what counts as appropriate anyeven more, and opinions are around as numerous as fans themselves. Some Jets fans at MetLife Stadium Stadium wore green T-shirts analysis “I stand for the national anthem.” Plenty of others approximately the country wore replicas of Kaepernick’s No. 7 with the 49ers.

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In Baltieven more, fans and players mostly stood in solemn respect in the time of the anthem. Before it started, however, the Ravens knelt together to pray for “kindness, unity, etop quality and also justice for all Americans.”

The players were booed by fans — those who were not making a last-minute speak for the bathroom or a beer, at least, before kickoff.