When the Armed Forces Bowl started on Saturday, the San Diego State Aztecs were on the field for the playing of the national anthem. But the opposing team, the Army Black Knights, were nowhere to be found. When a football team isn’t on the field when the national anthem plays, everybody wants to know why. But when that team is the Army Black Knights, everybody *really* wants to know why.
We didn’t have to wait long to find out what was going on. When Army coach Jeff Monken was interviewed at halftime, he explained what happened. And it’s a lot more mundane than you might think. You can watch the video, and this is what Monken said at the start of halftime.
“I want to apologize, I’m most embarrassed for not being out here for the national anthem. They had a five minute push, we didn’t realize it watching the clock. I want to apologize to all the soldiers, sailors and airmen out there. We had no intention of missing the national anthem. That’s bothered me since we started the game.”
The Black Knights weren’t trying to make a statement of any kind. It was a simple case of bad pre-game clock management, and Monken apologized and explained things the first chance he had. With all the contention surrounding what teams and individual players do during the anthem, you can’t blame him for wanting to get out in front of this and explain what was going on as soon as he could.
So if anyone was wondering what message Army was trying to send when they were in the locker room for the national anthem, it was pretty simple: “we forgot what time it was.”
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