Jon Stewart Doesn’t Understand Why National Anthem Is Played Before Sports Events: ‘It’s Such a Weird Ritual’

Entertainer and activist Jon Stewart lends his support to House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Mark Takano, D-Calif., as lawmakers work on legislation to expand benefits and improve care for veterans suffering from toxic exposure to burn pits and other hazards, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (AP …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Jon Stewart is flummoxed as to why the national anthem is played before sports events, calling it a “weird ritual.” He also questioned the American tradition of standing for the national anthem.

In the latest episode of his podcast, Stewart spoke to billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Marc Cuban, who recently ended the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at home games.

“Does anyone know when that started, playing the national anthem before games? It’s such a weird ritual,” Stewart said. “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 the anthem comes on and they all just have to…” [Stewart suggests standing up].

 Recording artist Yolanda Adams performs the American national anthem before a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on October 24, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Eagles 33-22. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Chief Petty Officer, Stephen Powell performs the national anthem before the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 17-10. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“But like why is that?” he 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 recently landed in hot water after he accused the Harry Potter books and movies of antisemitism, saying the goblin characters who work at the Gringotts Wizarding Bank are in fact crypto-Jews. He later walked back his statements following intense media blowback.

“I do not think J.K. Rowling is antisemitic. I did not accuse her of being antisemitic. I do not think the Harry Potter movies are antisemitic. I really love the Harry Potter movies, probably too much for a gentleman of my considerable age,” he said.

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