As the nation tuned in to witness the spectacle of Super Bowl LVIII, it wasn’t just the game that stirred controversy. While Reba McEntire’s rendition of the National Anthem garnered widespread praise, another performance ignited a fierce debate.

Andra Day’s rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” often referred to as the “Black National Anthem,” took center stage before kickoff. While some lauded Day’s talent, conservatives across the country raised objections to the NFL’s decision to include this separate anthem.

Critics argued that the National Anthem is a unifying symbol of American identity, cherished by citizens regardless of race or background. By introducing a separate anthem, they contended, the NFL was sowing division rather than fostering unity.

Prominent conservative voices, including podcast host Megan Kelly, voiced their disapproval. Kelly articulated her stance, asserting, “The so-called Black National Anthem does not belong at the Super Bowl. We already have a National Anthem and it includes EVERYONE.”

Her comments ignited a heated discussion, with some echoing her sentiments while others countered with historical context, pointing out that the National Anthem wasn’t officially recognized until 1931, and highlighting America’s complex racial history.

Amidst the political uproar, some attempted to shift the focus to the song’s religious significance, emphasizing its roots as a Christian hymn. One commenter noted, “‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ isn’t a replacement for our national anthem; it’s an amazing Christian hymn.”

Despite efforts to redirect the conversation, conservative figures continued to voice their opposition. CJ Pearson, a young African American state representative candidate, emphasized the importance of unity under one national symbol. “There is only ONE national anthem. And it’s for EVERYONE – white, black, yellow, and even maroon,” he declared.

Even Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz joined the chorus of dissent, injecting humor into the debate with a satirical dialogue about the Super Bowl performance.

The controversy surrounding the inclusion of the “Black National Anthem” in Super Bowl LVIII highlights deep-seated divisions within American society. While some view it as a celebration of diversity, others perceive it as a misguided attempt to fragment a symbol meant to unite all Americans.

As the debate rages on, one thing remains clear: the intersection of sports and politics continues to be a battleground for competing ideologies and visions of national identity.