Wisconsin to vote on requiring national anthem at sporting events

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The national anthem would have to be played before all sporting events held at Wisconsin venues that received any public funding under a bill up for a vote Tuesday in the state Assembly.

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The sweeping proposal received bipartisan support in committee, even as a group representing parks and recreation areas across the state questioned whether it was an unmanageable mandate.

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.

Fans toss bean bags outside of Lambeau Field before an NFL divisional playoff football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Fans toss bean bags outside of Lambeau Field before an NFL divisional playoff football game between the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

“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.

There is no penalty for violating the requirement, so even if the bar league softball team skipped the national anthem, there would be no repercussion under the law.

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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.

If approved by the Assembly, it would also have to pass the Senate and be signed by Gov. Tony Evers before becoming law.

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