Q&A on the News

Q: At what other events is the national anthem song played, other than athletic games or governmental events? Can professional sports team associations elect to stop this tradition?

—Portia Beasley, Atlanta

A: The playing of the national anthem at the beginning of each game, while a longstanding tradition, is not required, according to official Major League Baseball historian John Thorn.

“There appears to be no rule governing the playing or observance of the song at the ballpark … only custom,” he wrote in his mlb.com blog, Our Game.

For football, however, PolitiFact reported in September that a game operations manual given to all teams in the NFL mandates that the national anthem be played before the start of any NFL game.

Elsewhere, the anthem is also traditionally played at Olympic medal ceremonies when Americans win gold, on U.S. military bases each day, at community gatherings and holiday celebrations, and on some radio and television stations, according to Martindale-Hubbell’s lawyers.com website.

Q: To follow up on the recent question about having the shingles shot even though you’ve had shingles, if you’ve had the older preventative shingles shot, should you also have this new one?

—Dick Donovan, Dallas

A: Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in October that the newly licensed Shingrix shot is "recommended for adults who previously received the current shingles vaccine (Zostavax) to prevent shingles and related complications."

Fast Copy News Service wrote this column. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).