Slash (Saul Hudson is the name his mama gave him) is best known as the former lead guitarist for hair metal band Guns ‘N Roses, but he most recently made news for what by all accounts was a tasteful metal rendition of the National Anthem to open game 3 of the LA Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks series. No one – at least no one who doesn’t have an axe to grind with rock music in general – is saying anything negative about Slash’s playing. It was tastefully done and his playing was stellar as always. The problem some have with Slash’s performance of the National Anthem is that he didn’t remove his signature top hat.
The NHL didn’t seem to see a problem with it. They tweeted about it:
The LA Kings’ PR department didn’t seem to notice the problem, either:
— LAKingsPR (@LAKingsPR) May 25, 2014
Then again, this isn’t the first time they’ve had Slash out to play the National Anthem. He also played for the LA Kings’ home opener in 2010…again, with his signature top hat perched on his head of big hair:
Believe it or not, Slash has actually played the National Anthem several times over his career. I applaud him doing so. There isn’t much more patriotic than playing the National Anthem before our nation’s sporting events. On at least one instance, Slash showed that he could make it through the National Anthem without the top hat:
So, why is it a big deal if Slash wears his hat while he’s playing the National Anthem? It’s a big deal because we have a longstanding tradition of men removing their hats whenever the National Anthem is played. It’s a basic sign of respect. The only exception to the rule are men and women in uniform – members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as Police and Firefighting departments.
While I certainly hope Slash meant no disrespect by keeping his top hat on during the National Anthem, someone really needs to point the serious faux pas out to him. He’s not a member of any branch of service, nor has he ever been. For Slash to take upon himself the honor of keeping his hat on during the National Anthem places him up there with our men and women in uniform. And nobody deserves that honor, unless they are actually wearing the uniform. The fact that Slash wore his hat during the National Anthem during Memorial Day weekend makes it that much bigger of a deal.
So, NHL, LA Kings, do a little homework regarding the standards of respect for the National Anthem. And Slash, please keep playing the National Anthem – it sounded awesome – but out of respect for those who have earned the right to keep their hats on while the National Anthem is playing, please take the top hat off until the song is over.