The Tulsa Athletic soccer club has opted out of playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before its home games. Instead it plans replace the national anthem with Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” The semi-pro soccer club announced the change on Wednesday.
Based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tulsa Athletic a member of the National Premier Soccer League. Sonny Dalesandro, co-owner of Tulsa Athletic, explained that the old hippie ballad is more representative of the club’s philosophy of promoting inclusion for it’s athletes, fans and the community.
In the press release announcing the change team leadership said:
Tulsa Athletic, an American soccer team based in Tulsa and part of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), announces the club will no longer play “The Star-Spangled Banner” and will play a new song of patriotism, “This Land Is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie, at all home matches.
Tulsa Athletic’s mission is to create an inclusive community through the game of soccer. After carefully reviewing “The Star-Spangled Banner” lyrics and meaning, including the third verse which mentions “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave…,” Tulsa Athletic came to the decision that the song does not align with the club’s core values. While this verse is rarely sung, Tulsa Athletic does not believe “The Star-Spangled Banner” represents or unites their diverse players, fans and community.
From our beginning, we have developed a culture of inclusion and acceptance at Tulsa Athletic.
We live in a country that allows us to freely speak our voice. We utilize this right as a club to continually try and improve our team and community. We believe ‘This Land Is Your Land’ not only captures a powerful patriotic sentiment, but that it does so in a far more inclusive way.
The song speaks to this country being built and shared by every person of every race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. It represents a future Tulsa Athletic is committed to striving for,