Bruce Arena, who used to coach the US national men's soccer team and currently coaches the New England Revolution, does not think the national anthem should be played at sporting events in the United States. In an interview with ESPN, he questioned the purpose of playing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" at games.
"I think it puts people in awkward positions," he said.
Arena reasoned that the national anthem is not played at other major events in America, and openly wondered why it happens at sporting events.
"We don't use the national anthem in movie theaters and on Broadway, other events in the United States, and I don't think it's appropriate to have a national anthem before a baseball game, an MLS game," Arena said.
He then cited an example from his own experience coaching. Via ESPN:
"You think about it in Major League Soccer, most of the players that are standing on the field during the national anthem are international players, they're not even Americans. So why are we playing the national anthem? With all due respect, I live in the greatest country in the world but I think it's inappropriate."
Arena added that just because he feels that way, it does not make him less patriotic.
"Having said that, I want it understood, I'm very patriotic, but I just think it's inappropriate. And today, it's becoming too big of an issue," he said.
When is comes to the international level, Arena still supports playing the US national anthem and said that as coach of the national team, the anthem often brought him to tears.
With many leagues and players reconsidering their stance on kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against racial inequality in America, Arena said his finds it "respectful and "appropriate."