A photo circulating on social media suggests that Nebraska Basketball played a song called "Lift Every Voice and Sing" at men's/women's basketball games this week. The song is commonly referred to as the "Black National Anthem". I reached out to Husker Athletics to ask about this, and I've decided to post my questions and the answers (in bold) from Keith Mann of Husker Athletics. I want to say thank you to Keith for getting back to me quickly, as I know it's a busy time for the Department.
1. Is it true that "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was played at a recent Husker basketball game before the official National Anthem (the photo claims it was played at both exhibitions)? We have played it at both men’s and women’s exhibition games this season.
2.If true, are there plans to play that song before the official National Anthem in the future? Is this related to any kind of official decision with public notice given, was this player-driven, or something else? (I could very easily have missed a statement from Husker athletics, so please LMK if that is the case) We do plan to play it before our home games this season. Originally it was part of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) initiative to play during games last season, which we did for both men’s and women’s games at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Prior to this season, our programs were asked if they wanted to continue playing Lift Every Voice in pregame, and the decision was made to continue to play it this season.
3.Is it true that there was an announcement asking people to do something before "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was played? If so, what did that announcement specifically ask people to do? The PA Announcement prior to the song is “At this time we ask that you please rise as we celebrate unity and inclusion with the playing of Lift Every Voice and Sing
4.Does Husker athletics have any kind of official statement on this matter? Nothing additional other than what we have shared above that we have played this song at exhibition games and plan to continue to play it during the 2021-22 season.
What do you think of this?
Statements coming in from elected officials and candidates:
"I just heard about another “National Anthem” being played before games — and like most Nebraskans, I’m asking what the heck? Having another “national anthem” that drives division is wrong. The National Anthem is the song of our country. It celebrates the ultimate sacrifice by thousands in defense of our constitutional freedoms, and it unites us as Americans. I’ll always stand up for our liberties and freedoms for which generations of Americans have sacrificed. On the Board of Regents, I’ve worked tirelessly to represent conservative Nebraska values on every issue." - Jim Pillen, Candidate for Governor
"How many times over the past few years have we been troubled by issues taking place at our University? From Critical Race Theory to conservative students being bullied to now asking fans to stand for an alternative 'National Anthem,' it's gone too far. It's time we hold the leadership, including our elected Regents, accountable for what is taking place. Reacting after the fact, and only after public criticism, is not the leadership we expect. We stand for our National Anthem. We stand for our flag, and we will stand up for the conservative values that have made Nebraska great." - Charles W. Herbster, Candidate for Governor
This post will be updated to reflect statements as they come in.