PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philadelphia 76ers national anthem singer Sevyn Streeter says she was told by the team she could not perform because of her “We Matter” jersey.
She was scheduled to sing before the Sixers’ season opener Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Streeter wrote on Twitter, “Was suppose to sing the anthem at @sixers & @okcthunder game but mins b4 @sixers said I couldn’t because I was wearing a “We Matter” jersey.
The Sixers 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 said in a statement.
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
The Sixers had a member of their dance team sing the anthem.
This isn’t the first time the Sixers were dragged into a national anthem controversy.
A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami did so while kneeling at midcourt.
Denasia Lawrence opened her jacket just before she started to sing, revealing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, then dropped to her left knee and performed the song. She said it was her way of protesting racial oppression.
The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand while it is played. 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.
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