‘Outnumbered’ slams Jon Stewart for calling national anthem a ‘weird ritual’ at games

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The “Outnumbered” panel ripped into Jon Stewart Friday after the comedian called the playing of the national anthem at sporting events a “weird ritual.”

“I think it’s an unfortunate but unsurprising attitude about [the national anthem],” said co-host Emily Compagno, a former NFL cheerleader.

Compagno, who noted that Stewart himself played soccer in college, said that the ritual of standing for the national anthem at games was an “incredible moment” of “patriotism” and knocked the former “Daily Show” host for attempting to discern between standing for the flag at a game versus standing while at home watching on television. 

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“I’m a patriot every day no matter where I am, and I stand for my national anthem,” she added.

 “Fox & Friends Weekend” co-host Will Cain said standing for the flag was one of the few things Americans have left to unify around. 

Celebrities Jon Stewart and Pete Davidson attend a game between the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks on December 14, 2021 

Celebrities Jon Stewart and Pete Davidson attend a game between the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks on December 14, 2021 
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

“It’s pretty sophomoric to poke holes in it,” he added. 

Meanwhile, Fox News anchor Julie Banderas called Stewart’s comments “just plain idiotic.”

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Stewart shared his view on the anthem Thursday during his podcast “The Problem with Jon Stewart.”

“Does anyone know when that started, playing the national anthem before games? It’s such a weird ritual,” said Stewart. 

“I’ve always thought about when Kaepernick took the knee and the whole thing was like, ‘You gotta stand for the anthem!’… But, like, why is that?” Stewart later added. “When the anthem comes, you only have to stand if you’re there. But the transitive principle through the television – if it’s through the television you can do whatever the f—- you want. If you’re at a stadium there is a whole regimen you have to go through.”

A teacher from the Extra Yard for Teachers charity kneels during the National Anthem prior to the Clemson v LSU game on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

A teacher from the Extra Yard for Teachers charity kneels during the National Anthem prior to the Clemson v LSU game on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The American tradition was practiced during many of America’s most harrowing moments. The late Whitney Houston sang the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ during the 1991 Super Bowl just as the U.S. had entered the Persian Gulf War. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, firefighters and police officers banded together, holding an American flag during the anthem. 

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In the aftermath of World War II, the NFL commissioner said the anthem should be “as much a part” of the game as the kickoff.  

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