The crowd at a high school softball championship sang the national anthem a cappella after the ballpark's announcer informed everyone that the “Star-Spangled Banner” would not be played before the game.
The Central Section softball championship at Fresno State University in California was about to be played between Clovis and Buchanan high schools on Friday when the announcement jolted the fans, the Fresno Bee reported.
The fans at Margie Wright Diamond booed the announcement. Then the crowd started to stand up and sing the anthem, softly at first and then in a swelling chorus as everyone joined in.
The players stopped warming up and faced the flag and removed their hats.
Anthony Galaviz posted a video of the anthem on Twitter, which has been commented on more than 300 times.
The fan-initiated national anthem came a week after the National Football League announced that players must stand for the song before games or stay in the locker room to avoid being fined, CNN reported. The move sought to end a two-year protest by some players started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Events coordinator Bob Kayajanian told the Bee that the ballpark was following long-established sports events protocol by not playing the national anthem because it was played in the first game at the ballpark.
"The national protocol is the first game of the session you have the national anthem," Kayajanian said. "The games after that are just played. We got caught (off-guard). Both the teams turned to face the field and they all started singing the national anthem.”
"They started to play some music and the people took that as the national anthem and they all started singing, which I think is obviously a wonderful thing to show off their patriotism. We try to follow with what normally gets done. It's all a learning experience for everyone and (going forward) we’re playing the national anthem at every game."
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