Democrat Congressman Steve Cohen stirred up controversy when he expressed frustration over Super Bowl fans who remained seated during the rendition of the “Black National Anthem.”
Representing a significant portion of Memphis since 2007, Cohen voiced his discontent as the game commenced. The inclusion of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” alongside “The Star-Spangled Banner” has sparked debates nationwide, with Grammy-winning artist Andra Day performing the song on Sunday night.
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) February 12, 2024
Cohen’s comments sparked heated exchanges during the game and drew significant attention online. Responding to criticism from one commentator about standing only for the national anthem, Cohen defended his stance, stating, “I stand for both. And in Memphis, most do.”
Another commentator argued that the national anthem transcends color, accusing Democrats of fostering racial division. Cohen stood firm, acknowledging the significance of the national anthem while also highlighting its historical ties to slavery.
Very very few stood at Super Bowl for “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
The Negro National Anthem.
Not a pretty picture of Super Bowl crowd.,
— Steve Cohen (@RepCohen) February 11, 2024
Throughout the night, Cohen faced backlash, including antisemitic and bigoted remarks, prompting him to engage with trolls online. One user even referenced Cohen’s unsuccessful attempt to join the Congressional Black Caucus in 2007.
By the following morning, Cohen’s original tweet had garnered significant attention, with a notable disparity between reposts and replies, indicating a contentious reception among users.
The NFL’s decision to incorporate “Lift Every Voice and Sing” originated amid the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, reflecting calls for the league to address systemic racism, including the underrepresentation of Black franchise owners. Despite initial displays of solidarity, subsequent events, such as fans drowning out the Black anthem at the NFL’s opening game in September, underscored ongoing tensions and debates surrounding racial justice initiatives within the league.
Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz expressed disdain for the inclusion of the “Black National Anthem,” characterizing it as a desecration of America’s national anthem.
The Super Bowl’s musical performances, including “America the Beautiful” by Post Malone and a halftime show featuring Usher, provided additional moments of cultural and political significance amidst the sporting event. Ultimately, the Kansas City Chiefs triumphed over the San Francisco 49ers in a thrilling overtime victory, capping off a night marked by both athletic competition and socio-political discourse.
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