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Wisconsin bill would require playing of national anthem at taxpayer-funded venues

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Republican legislators in Wisconsin introduced a bill on Thursday that would require venues and arenas that have received taxpayer funding to play the national anthem at sporting events.

The Star Spangled Banner Act says that no sporting event may be held in a venue constructed even in part with public money unless the national anthem is played or sung. There would be no penalties for violating the law.

This would include events held at Lambeau Field, home of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers; the Fiserv Forum, where the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks play; and the American Family Field, which hosts MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers.

State Sen. Patrick Testin (R), the bill’s co-author in the upper chamber, said in a statement that “hearing the Star Spangled Banner at a sporting event reminds us that despite our differences, we have something in common — we are Americans.”

“This tradition traces its roots back more than a century — even pre-dating the song’s adoption as the national anthem. It’s a practice that unites us, and I believe it’s worth preserving,” Testin said.


The bill was co-authored by state House Reps. Tony Kurtz (R) and Scott Krug (R).

The legislation would need to pass a Republican-controlled legislature to make it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. The Hill has reached out to the governor’s office for comment.

Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, sparked controversy earlier this month when he confirmed that the NBA team would continue not playing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before home games.

NBA rules mandate that players stand for the national anthem before games, but the commissioner has not enforced the rule recently as athletes have taken to kneeling during the anthem to demonstrate against social injustice.

Shortly after Cuban’s comments were made public, the league announced that teams would again be subjected to the “longstanding” policy of playing the anthem. However, the statement did not appear to prohibit players from taking a knee

Tags Green Bay Green Bay Packers kneeling Mark Cuban Milwaukee Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Bucks National anthem National anthem protests The Star-Spangled Banner Tony Evers Wisconsin

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