In a feature that preceded its coverage of Rory McIlroy’s march to victory in the U.S. Open, the words “under God” were omitted from a clip showing children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at a Washington, D.C. area school.
NBC apologized — the clip also omitted “indivisible” — with Dan Hicks reading a statement during play in the fourth round at Congressional: “We began our coverage of this final round just about three hours ago and when we did it was our intent to begin the coverage of this U.S. Open Championship with a feature that captured the patriotism of our national championship being held in our nation’s capital for the third time. Regrettably, a portion of the Pledge of Allegiance that was in that feature was edited out. It was not done to upset anyone and we’d like to apologize to those of you who were offended by it.”
NBC’s statement hasn’t tempered the criticism today. The omission, whether deliberately or accidentally, is just the latest error to reside at the intersection of sports and patriotism — where there’s quite a body of work.
Singers of the national anthem have frequently forgotten lyrics, as Christina Aguilera famously did at the Super Bowl last February. (The ever-helpful Gene Weingarten wrote new ones; maybe he needs to turn his attention to the Pledge now.) Basically, anthems have run the gamut from the classic (Marvin Gaye’s brilliant version) to the horrific Roseanne Barr.