In local national anthem controversy. The national anthem will not be played at Niskayuna pep rally, as a result of wide receiver Ismail Stewart took a knee as other players lock arms during the playing of the national anthem.

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Niskayuna Central School District Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra Jr. issued a statement just after noon Friday stating that the National Anthem will not be played at the high school pep rally Friday afternoon, as has been the custom in past years.

The statement read in part:

“After careful thought and consideration by our administration, and after meeting with members of our student body, it was decided that the national anthem would not be played as it has been in the past. This is an event focused on school spirit and unity, and there was a concern that given the intensity of this issue and the diversity of viewpoints, that this event could turn what is supposed to be a positive experience for our students into a negative one.”

The decision comes after some Niskayuna football players and a cheerleader knelt during the playing of the national anthem before a football game at the school on Sept. 27. Since that display, at least one of the players who knelt has received negative feedback over the gesture, which emulates similar displays by some NFL players aimed at calling attention to perceived injustices toward people of color, specifically by police officers.

Agree or Disagree with this decision, either way, people have taken up way too much time debating whether perceived "patriotism" in America is mandatory or voluntary.

If you start making people stand up for the pledge or national anthem, it goes against the freedom of choice that this country was "allegedly" founded on.

The fact that this debate has gone on this long seems highly hypocritical to me, you can't stand for freedom if you make people stand up for a ritual.

The constitution protects citizens from this legally, it amazes me how people have persecuted people who don't stand up for the anthem. Forced patriotism contradicts American values people fought so the government couldn't make anyone do anything. I guess I'm the only one who paid attention in history class.

Do you agree with them scrapping the National Anthem?