In an unprecedented move last night, the Philadelphia 76ers’ told a recording artist who was scheduled to sing the National Anthem before their game in Oklahoma City with the Thunder to “Go Home” just before her performance. The team’s management made the decision to have Sevyn Streeter not perform the country’s Anthem after she showed up wearing a Jersey with the number seven on it and the words, “We Matter” sprawled across the front.
Ms. Streeter said she was approached by a member of the team’s management just prior to her performance and told that the team deemed her attire as unacceptable and did not represent the spirit of the ball club and that her services would not be needed that evening. Following the dismissal, Ms. Streeter sent out the following tweet:
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
Afterwards, Sevyn, not appearing to understand that when you are working for someone else, they control your employment, told reporters; “I’d say two minutes before we were about to walk out … the organization told me that I could not wear my shirt while singing the national anthem at their game,” the R&B singer told the Associated Press. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”
The 76ers had been happy to have her sing at the game, they even promoted her appearance before the game offering fans a chance to sit with her court-side during the third quarter. After her dismissal, the franchise issued a statement on the situation, but declined to say why Streeter’s performance was canceled.
“The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community.”
The Sixers had a member of their dance team sing the anthem. As for Streeter, she has written songs for Chris Brown, Ariana Grande and other stars. In 2013, she had a Top 40 hit with “It Won’t Stop,” a duet with Brown that reached RIAA gold status. The singer said she was very hurt by the NBA team’s actions.
“I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart,” she said. “Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that.” (Not really, she was looking forward to improperly grabbing as much publicity as possible by creating a controversy over how she sang a song that is supposed to represent and honor the nation and the men and women that have fought and died to keep it free with a cheap political statement.)
Not showing the proper respect while singing the National Anthem has become a major topic in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing. The spoiled, overpaid jock, Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports — and many levels, from youth all the way to professional — have followed his lead in various ways, setting a dangerous precedent for race relations in the country by inferring that one set of lives matter more than another.
“All I can say is what we’ve seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week at a news conference following the league’s board of governors meetings. “It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do.” The NBA has a rule calling for players and coaches to stand during the anthem. It would seem that the NBA at least has learned something from the falling ratings that have hit the NFL following the rash of disrespect for the Flag and National Anthem in that league.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
©2016 R. L. Grimes, All Rights Reserved.