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Jozy Altidore: Why I don’t cover my heart during the national anthem

We finally have an answer for Jozy's controversial anthem ritual

Christian Hofer/Getty Images

It's been a mystery for some years. Why does United States striker Jozy Altidore not put his hand over his heart during the "Star-Spangled Banner" before each game? It's a usual custom that the majority of Americans take part in. It signifies pride in your country and respect for our nation's flag. So, Altidore's refusal to adhere to the custom obviously has drawn criticism and confusion from everyone around the American soccer community.

Finally after many years of wondering, Jozy has broken his silence and explained his reasoning. Speaking to he says he has nothing but love for his country, but it's just how he was raised, "I was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. My mom is a Jehovah's Witness and there's just certain things we don't do," Altidore told Goal USA. "Birthdays, holidays, stuff like that, so (not putting my hand on my heart) has nothing to do with me being against the country, or being any less American.

"I love my country. I'm very American," he added. "I love playing for the U.S., and I hope people understand that that's why I don't do it."

Altidore has faced questions about his anthem habits for years. He felt it was finally time to reveal his reasons, "People ask me that all the time," Altidore said. "Angry fans ask me that all the time, and I just want them to know why I don't do it."

Religion is a very touchy subject to try and breach. Our country was founded on the freedom to practice whichever religion you choose and that's what makes it so great. The most important thing this revelation informs us of is that Altidore loves his country. Just because he chooses to do things a little differently than most of us are used to doesn't mean he should be ridiculed.

We all love America. Jozy loves America. And that's all that matters. We can put this "controversy" to bed and move on about our business.