by Max Brantley
Frank Deford should stir a tsunami of comments with his ESPN commentary that, because sports fans are so desensitized to the National Anthem, that it should no longer be played as matter of routine at sporting events, but saved for special occasions.
... the problem is that when you make the anthem just another part of the scenery, it loses its meaning. When Pee-wee Herman had a show on Broadway a couple of months ago, he began by pretending it was grade school and having the theater rise and recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Everybody went along, laughing, and I thought: That's pretty much the attitude toward our anthem at sports events now. Maybe it's not a joke, but it's just a rote imposition. It would be better if "The Star-Spangled Banner" were saved for special occasions —— championships.
And sure, if [NASCAR's] Chevrolet No. 39 works as a recruiting commercial [for the Army], let the taxpayers ante up for it, but, hey, Congress, how about we cut the funding for fighter jets flying over stadiums?