The National Anthem is once again at the center of controversy after legendary singer Aretha Franklin belted out a more than 4-minute version of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday, with some calling her version “glorious” and others lamenting it.
Franklin, who performed the song before the Thanksgiving Day face-off between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, played the piano during the entirety of the performance.
Watch Franklin deliver the national anthem below:
As for the overall reception, the jury is still out. Relevant Magazine said the performance “may have been the most memorable part of the game” and proclaimed that “because it was Aretha Franklin, every second was magnificent.”
But not everyone agreed.
Some complained that Franklin’s rendition was simply too long, with sports guru Paul Charchian tweeting, “I appreciate Aretha Franklin’s place in music history, but her rendition of the national anthem was downright self indulgent.”
I appreciate Aretha Franklin's place in music history, but her rendition of the national anthem was downright self indulgent.
— Paul Charchian (@PaulCharchian) November 24, 2016
Regardless of where people stand on the performance, it was quite possibly historically long, according to Fox Sports.
The outlet noted that, at 4 minutes 35 seconds, Franklin’s rendition was much longer than the average of the national anthems performed at the past 10 Super Bowls — 1 minute 57 seconds. Fox Sports concluded: “It’s hard to imagine there’s ever been a national anthem at an NFL game that’s gone longer.”
Here are some of the other reactions that circulated afterward:
Kaepernick would've developed arthritis in his knee for kneeling so long if the 49ers were playing while Aretha Franklin sang the anthem
— Brock (@BrockOgami) November 24, 2016
Aretha Franklin is pretty far up at the top of the list of folks who can take however long they want with the national anthem.
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) November 24, 2016
Aretha Franklin gonna take up the whole 3hrs. Lions game canceled.
— JRSportBrief (@JRSportBrief) November 24, 2016
— MC HAMMER (@MCHammer) November 24, 2016
I'm gonna tell all your grandchildren about the time you complained about seeing Aretha Franklin instead of the Detroit Lions
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) November 24, 2016
Before Aretha Franklin sang the National Anthem
After Aretha Franklin sang the National Anthem pic.twitter.com/EaMF1CctzB
— shauna (@goldengateblond) November 24, 2016
Aretha Franklin's anthem was so long the entire stadium had to kneel in order to rest their feet.
— Brent Willis (@BrentWillisPFG) November 24, 2016
Of course, it should be mentioned — as some of the aforementioned tweets noted — that this is only the latest drama to unfold surrounding the national anthem after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked controversy, and a line of many others who followed his lead, with his decision earlier this year not to stand during the national anthem.
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