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Friday, December 17, 2021

Florida legislators want to require playing of national anthem at pro sports games

Posted By on Fri, Dec 17, 2021 at 12:51 PM

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The state Senate and House will consider a proposal that would require Florida professional sports teams receiving government assistance to play the U.S. national anthem before every home game.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, filed a measure Thursday (SB 1298) that would prohibit government agencies from entering agreements with professional teams without written verification that the anthem would be played. The proposal, similar to a measure (HB 499) filed Nov. 4 by Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, seeks to ensure the anthem would be played before such things as preseason, regular-season and post-season professional baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer and football games.

Also, the requirement would apply to NASCAR and IndyCar events held in venues with at least 75,000 permanent seats and Professional Golfers’ Association events.

Failure to play the anthem could lead to teams or venues being required to repay government money they received. The proposal mirrors a Texas law, dubbed the Star Spangled Banner Protection Act, that went into effect in September. The Texas law came after Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban quietly made a decision in November 2020 to stop playing the anthem before his team’s home games.

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