The Sixers opened the 2016–17 season at home against the Thunder, and Streeter tweeted that her choice of garb and accompanying statement led to a last-second change by the team. A member of the Sixers’ dance team sang the national anthem instead.
The NBA declined comment to ESPN, deferring to a team statement from the 76ers.
“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 wrote.
Sevyn Streeter took to social media to tell the world what happened from her point of view. She told the Associated Press last night that the Sixers pulled the plug on her just minutes before she was about to perform.
“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 said by phone. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”
National anthem protests have increased acrossed all sport platforms, starting with Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel ahead of NFL games to call attention to racial injustices and police brutality in America. Just last weekend, singer Denasia Lawrence decided to kneel midcourt as she took the mic to sing the national anthem at the NBA preseason game between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers. Lawrence said her decision to kneel was not for “any sort of fame” but it was her way of “respectfully protesting” against injustices.
“Black Lives Matter is far larger than a hashtag, it’s a rallying cry,” wrote Lawrence, who said she was a social worker and wasn’t get paid for her performance.
Earlier this month, Leah Tysse sparked a court controversy of her own when she dropped to one knee and lowered her head for the final refrain, “the land of the free, and the home of the brave,” before a preseason game for the Sacramento Kings.
“I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans,” Tysse wrote. “I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said publicly that he hopes NBA players will stand for the anthem. Now, was the Sixers wrong for pulling the plug on Sevyn Streeter? Sound off in the comments below.
Written By: Kyree Shockley