Jon Stewart Says Playing The National Anthem At Sporting Events Is A ‘Weird Ritual’

(Photo credit: Twitter/Screenshot/Public-User: The Problem with Jon Stewart)

Katie Jerkovich Entertainment Reporter
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Former TV host Jon Stewart said Thursday that he thinks the playing of the national anthem before sporting events is a “weird ritual” and wondered when it started.

“Does anyone know when that started, playing the national anthem before games?” the host of “The Problem with Jon Stewart” podcast said during his recent show with guest and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. The comments come at the 37:29 minute mark here(RELATED: NBA Says Teams Will Play The National Anthem After Dallas Mavericks Say They Won’t)

“It’s such a weird ritual,” Stewart added. “I’ve always thought about when [Colin] Kaepernick took the knee and the whole thing was like, ‘You gotta stand for the anthem!’ Now, I imagine like in living rooms, guys are getting nachos ready, and fucking the wings, and then anthem comes on and they all just have to [stand].”

“But like why is that?” Stewart continued. “When the anthem comes on, you only have to stand if you’re there. But the transitive principle through the television. If it’s through the television you can do whatever the fuck you want. You can take a shit during the National Anthem as a patriot. But if you’re at the stadium, there’s like a whole regimen you have to go through.”

Stewart and his co-hosts went on to discuss national anthem etiquette, such as whether a person has to put their “hand over your heart” during it and the rule about taking off hats. One of his cohosts said it’s “for show” and said “you better take that hat off.”

Stewart said he does “hand over heart” but not always and has even done “hat in hand, hand over heart, covering” his heart with the hat. The host wondered if that then “negates” the heart. At one point they discussed national anthem etiquette for religious hats. (RELATED: REPORT: The Dallas Mavericks Have Stopped Playing The National Anthem During Pre-Game)

Cuban faced a backlash in 2021 after reports surfaced that he made the decision to stop playing the “Star Spangled Banner” before games. The Mavericks hadn’t played it at 13 home games before The Athletic report came out early February of last year.

NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass then announced “all teams will play the national anthem in keeping with longstanding league policy,” ESPN journalist Shams Charania reported. Not long after the announcement, Cuban shared that the team would resume playing the anthem before games.