Is Etiquette Dead?

American footballer Colin Kaepernick caused a stir the world over when he decided not to stand for the US National anthem before a pre-season game against the Green Bay Packers

The controversial San Francisco 49ers’s quarterback once again knelt down as a black Navy sailor sang The Star Spangled Banner ahead of the 49ers final pre-season game in San Diego on Thursday night. This time Kaepernick’s teammate, safety Eric Reid, also stayed down during the anthem. While at a mother game the Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Jeremy Lane, chose to sit on the bench before his game in Oakland.

Kaepernick has made it quite clear that he is not anti-American but has stated that his actions are a protest on a number of issues ranging from racial injustice and minority oppression to police brutality. Issues he feels need to be addressed in America and are now in the spotlight as a result of his and other high profile athletes actions.

Kaepernick has said he will even put his money where his mouth is. “I am planning to take it a step further, I’m currently working with organizations to be involved, and making sure I’m actively in these communities, as well as donating the first million dollars I make this year to different organizations to help these communities and help these people.” He is quoted as saying.

So his actions, which have been classified ill-mannered and disrespectful have a reason, whether one agrees with them or not.

So why is it that these days when the national anthem is played at sporting events people fail to observe the time-honoured gesture of respect and remove their hats when the anthem is playing.

Sure people in the main stand up when the anthems are played, but very few now remove their hats. This is clear when watching on television and when attending games. Is it laziness? Is it simply not knowing the behaviour expected when wearing a hat?

Sadly the popularity of the baseball hat has seen on time-honoured rule in relation to hats being ignored on a regular basis, and that is that a gentleman never wears his hat indoors.

Could this be the reason that no one has pulled up people on this etiquette failure and why formerly rude and disrespectful behaviour has become acceptable?

Hats should always be removed for a National Anthem. They should also be removed for funeral processions, entering a Christian church, attending an outdoor wedding, and for dedication ceremonies.

When the hat is removed it should be held in the hand in such a way that only the outside, and never the lining is visible.

Whereas the rules for women are slightly different, if a woman is wearing what may be deemed a unisex hat, such as a baseball hat or beanie, she too should remove her hat for the national anthem. The only males who’s should keep a hat on are the military when in uniform.

In the USA they have passed a law that hat must be removed during the playing of the national anthem. They have even gone a step further by expressing how the removed hat should be held. This law is under United States penal code Title 36, Chapter 10. There is no penalty for failing to comply, but it is still a law. The law states “During a rendition of the national anthem… (B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart…”

Why did this men removing their hats come about? It stemmed from the days of knights in armour when they had to raise their visors out of respect so that people could see who was inside the suit of armour. When helmets became hats, the tradition continued as a mark of respect, and the reason it was held in the right hand was because most people are right handed.

Is this a part of etiquette that has had its day? Or are we as a society no longer respectful? Should more people be educated to show their respect as people have done for hundreds of years? Be interested to hear people’s views.

Having been brought up that it is rude to wear a hat indoors and during the national anthem, this writer will continue to remove his at all times.

Is Etiquette Dead?

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