American Legion baseball is a grand American tradition. So too is our National Anthem. So too is freedom of speech and the right to protest. If you’re a Minnesota American Legion ballplayer, though, your right to protest during the National Anthem is something you have to check at the door:
American Legion Baseball players in Minnesota will be required to show “proper respect” during the National Anthem, or they won’t be able to play. The Minnesota American Legion committee adopted a no-tolerance policy when it comes to players’ behavior during the anthem before games.
“Proper respect” is being defined as players standing at attention with their hats off, and hats over their hearts. By the American Legion’s own admission, there has never been an Anthem protest during a Minnesota American Legion baseball game but the spokesman said that they just wanted to get out in front of the issue in light of Colin Kaepernick’s protests during the NFL season. He said they wanted to prohibit “kneeling down, back to the flag, stuff like that.” If you violate the new rule, you’ll be kicked out of Legion ball. The Minnesota prohibition was first reported last week and, apparently, follows on a national American Legion edict about Anthem decorum. Which I can’t recall hearing about when it happened, but apparently happened a few weeks ago.
It’s their league, so they can do what they want. And, of course, they’re an organization which cites advocating patriotism as part of its mission, so their stance on this matter is not surprising.
Anyone wanna help me form an ACLU baseball league? I’m guessing the players we’d get wouldn’t be quite as good, what with them all arguing that no one should bat first but, rather, they should all be represented in the lineup on equal terms, but our National Anthem would be fun and the arguments between the coaches and the umpires over rules interpretations would be worth the dang price of admission, that I can tell you.