Abeng Editorial Opinion: Sevyn Streeter Barred From Performing The National Anthem at The Philadelphia 76ers Season Opener
by Kaya Omodele @TheAbeng
A man of God addressed feuding members of his congregation.
"You profess to love God, who you can't see, yet you hold no compassion for your fellow man who you live with every day?"
This whole controversy over protesting during the national anthem before sporting events turned into a fiasco when my favorite NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers, barred singer Sevyn Streeter from performing the national anthem at the Sixers' season opening the other night. See, the Sixers organization (the front office, not the players) felt that Sevyn's sporting a #wematter (as in #blacklivesmatter ) t-shirt during her rendition would be a bad look, break their policy/contract agreement, and alienate a majority of Philadelphia fans (not me, though), who feel that any protest during the national anthem somehow denigrates the flag, dishonors military veterans, and disrespects the good old US of A.
You don't have to look any further than the insults and death threats hurled at Colin Kaepernick (for his kneeling in silent protest during the anthem at NFL games) for examples of how unfavorably many Americans view these acts of protest. Results from a survey questioning why TV ratings for NFL games are lower this year reveal that 56% of those surveyed hold the opinion that people are turned off by the protesting during the anthem.
Maybe these are the same set of people who threw threats at Muhammad Ali during his "unpatriotic" protest and critique of the US government and the Vietnam war; maybe they would've booed Tommie Smith and John Carlos for their black-fists salute during the medal award ceremony at the 1968 Olympic games; maybe they would've howled at the framers of the U.S. Constitution who insisted on freedom of speech and press, and from the tyranny of government.
Maybe for some, institutional symbols (the anthem and flag) deserve more consideration and respect than compassion for human lives and dignity.
After the players were upset by the front office's decision to bar the singer, the Philadelphia 76ers organization has since apologized and invited Sevyn Streeter back to perform the national anthem at whichever game she choose