National Anthem
The California chapter of the NAACP has called for the removal of the national anthem. Fans are pictured standing during the anthem on Apr.4, 2003 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Getty Images

Amid a nationwide conversation surrounding players' in-game protests during the national anthem, the California chapter of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has called for the removal of "The Star-Spangled Banner." The civil rights organization suggested the song is anti-black and racist.

"This song is wrong," chapter president Alice Huffman told KOVR, a CBS affiliated in Sacramento, on Tuesday. "It should never have been there, and just like we didn't have it until 1931, it won't kill us if it goes away."

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat for the anthem in a 2016 NFL preseason game as a form of protest against racial injustice. Kaepernick's decision led to more players and owners joining in protests during the anthem.

However, Huffman claimed that the message behind Kaepernick's protest became blurred when debates involved patriotism and respect for the military.

"The message got distorted, the real intentions got overlooked, it became something that’s dividing us, and I’m looking for something to bring us back together," Huffman said.

The controversy surrounding the meaning behind the protests led Huffman to examine the lyrics of "The Star-Spangled Banner," more specifically, the third stanza.

"It's racist," she said. "It doesn't represent our community. It's anti-black people."

Huffman referred to the lyrics "No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave," which she said some interpreted as a celebration of blacks dying in pursuit of freedom. Huffman suggested that those lyrics should be replaced with something more racially sensitive.

"This is not about the flag. We love the flag. This is about a song that should never have been the national anthem. This country is a country that has shared values, and the more we respect each other, the better off we’ll be as a country," Huffman added.

Huffman’s request prompted a response from right-wing political commentator Bill O'Reilly, who took to Facebook Thursday and called the NAACP's assertion "simply outrageous."

"There is a big lie being promoted by the California chapter of the NAACP and that is the false assertion that the Star Spangled Banner, our National Anthem, is a racist song," O'Reilly said. "Alice Huffman from the NAACP says the anthem does not represent 'our community' because it is racist."

O'Reilly suggested that the NAACP is misunderstanding the historical context of the song, pointing out that the writer, Francis Scott Key, was inspired by the Battle of Baltimore when he penned the lyrics.

The NAACP also called on Congress to reprimand President Donald Trump for his comments regarding the firing of players who don’t stand for the anthem. During an Alabama rally in September, Trump referred to protesting players as "sons of bitches."