Democrat chides Super Bowl crowd for sitting during ‘Negro National Anthem’: ‘Not a pretty picture’

A Democratic congressman said all Americans should stand for “The Negro National Anthem” and chided the Super Bowl audience for not doing so.

Rep. Steve Cohen, a White Tennessee Democrat, looked in anger at the crowd Sunday evening in Las Vegas during the performance of the 19th-century song by R&B singer Andra Day before the game.

“Very very few stood at the Super Bowl for ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’. The Negro National Anthem. Not a pretty picture of the Super Bowl crowd,” Mr. Cohen wrote on X.

The reactions — the more printable ones anyway — included such statements as “It’s not a national anthem. You’d think someone in government would know that” and “There is only one national anthem and that ain’t it, chief.”

In interaction with some of those critics, Mr. Cohen went on to call “The Star-Spangled Banner” racism-tainted.

“I honor our national anthem and respect it as representing our country and in our pride in it. However if you look at the history and some of the verbiage, it does relate to slavery and not in a questioning manner,” he later wrote.

He was referring to a line in the third verse — “No refuge could save the hireling and slave / From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave” — the meaning of which is disputed. The verse, regardless of its meaning, has never been sung at the Super Bowl and almost never anywhere else.

Mr. Cohen also said it is the custom to stand for “Life Every Voice and Sing.”

“I stand for both. And in Memphis, most do,” he told one X user.

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