Beyond the Debate Over Colin Kaepernick The continuing refusal by the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to stand during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before games has set off a debate about patriotism, protest and professional sports. But it has also raised another fraught question: Is our national anthem itself racist? The journalist Jon Schwarz, writing in The Intercept, argued yes, denouncing the lyrics, written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, as “a celebration of slavery.” How could black players, Mr. Schwarz asked, be expected to stand for a song whose rarely sung third stanza — which includes the lines “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave” — “literally celebrates the murder of African-Americans”? More: Is the National Anthem Racist? Beyond the Debate Over Colin Kaepernick It could certainly be interpreted as racist. What do you think?