The Wisconsin State Assembly is set to vote Tuesday on a bill requiring the national anthem to be played before sporting events in venues that received public funds.
“This country, for all the good we have had, for all the bad we have done – and we have – we are still one country,” said one of the bill’s authors, Rep. Tony Kurtz (R-Wonewoc), according to WKOW. “That’s why I want people to remember that.”
During our interview for Capital City Sunday, we didn't have time to include @RepTonyKurtz on his bill requiring the national anthem before sporting events.
When I asked Kurtz about whether some might consider this forced patriotism, he was moved to tears during his answer. pic.twitter.com/QzU2LhOjiI
— A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) May 11, 2021
The Army veteran said he did not intend the bill to punish professional athletes who used the anthem as a way to protest, a trend that began with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he knelt during the anthem in 2016.
“I fundamentally disagree with that, and I should have a right to say ‘I don’t like that, but you know what? I served; thousands of others have served so that he could [kneel],” Kurtz explained.
The proposal got bipartisan support in committee, although a group representing parks and recreation areas in the state asked if it was an “unmanageable mandate,” the Associated Press (AP) reported:
The requirement would apply at all levels of athletic events played on a field that ever received public money, from a bar league softball game at the local park to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. “Sporting event” is not defined, raising the question of whether the anthem would have to be sung every time someone gets together for a pickup game of football at the city park or plays a softball game on a municipal field.
No penalty exists for violating the requirement; therefore, if the bar league softball team chose not to play the anthem, it would not face repercussions under the law.
“The Wisconsin Parks and Recreation Association said it supported the intent of the bill but questioned the need for it and how it would be implemented,” the AP article read.
If the Assembly approves it, the bill would also have to pass the Senate and receive Gov. Tony Evers’ signature before it became law.