Singer/songwriter Sevyn Streeter says she was told she couldn’t sing the national anthem last night (Oct 26) at the season opener of the Philadelphia 76ers game because she was wearing a “We Matter” jersey.
The singer was scheduled to sing the Star Spangled Banner before the 76ers vs. OKC Thunder game but says she was told just minutes before she was set to go on that she could not due to her jersey. She posted this IG video shortly after the incident:
Later in the night, she had an interview with The Associated Press and explained the entire ordeal. “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.”
The Sixers released a statement, but it doesn’t really address the issue at hand or state why they denied Streeter the opportunity to sing the national anthem. “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,” they write.
Gerald Henderson, a Sixers guard, said Sixers dance team member Jemila Worley was brought out at the last minute to sing the anthem. “I saw the little pause there. … I was wondering, something had crossed my mind like, ‘What’s going on? Did something happen?'” Henderson told a reporter. “That was pretty big time for a cheerleader to step in there, and she killed it!”
The NBA declined to comment.
San Fransico 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick gained national attention when he refused to stand for the national anthem at the start of the 2016-17 football season, and now that basketball season has started, I’m sure we’ll see these things spill over into the NBA.