Sevyn Streeter was excited to be chosen by the Philadelphia 76ers to sing the national anthem for the team’s home opener. But Streeter also wanted to express herself during the performance. Dressed in all-black, Streeter’s jersey had the words “We Matter” on the front.
But moments before she was set to sing the national anthem, officials with the 76ers approached Streeter and told her that she couldn’t wear the jersey while singing. She was essentially replaced at the last minute by a member of the dance squad who performed the controversial song.
Streeter took to social media to express herself by posting to her followers, “Was suppose to sing the anthem, but minutes before, the Sixers said I couldn’t because I was wearing a ‘We Matter’ jersey. Streeter also revealed that she wasn’t given a dress code before being asked to sing the national anthem and felt humiliated by being replaced. She wa brought to tears by the decision.
Protests during the national anthem has sparked headlines since Colin Kaepernick decided to kneel during the singing of the song. He said that he won’t stand for the flag while the mistreatment of people of color continues to occur in America. His actions have inspired a multitude of players in the NFL, college, and high school to follow.
Denasia Lawrence decided to make a bold statement while singing the national anthem during the Miami Heat’s final preseason game against the Sixers. While wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt under a blazer, Lawrence followed in the footsteps of Kaepernick by taking knee.
The NBA has walked a fine line when it comes to protesting the national anthem. Commissioner Adam Silver recently said “standing for the national anthem is the right thing to do.”
But the Sixers were wrong for banning Streeter. The NBA has promoted a campaign called “Together” which aims for unity. By banning Streeter for wearing a “We Matter” jersey, it goes against that campaign and makes it appear disingenuous. The NBA attempted to confront the need for social change, but it can’t do so by silencing those who wish to express themselves in that manner.
Since the incident with Streeter, the Sixers and has faced a backlash. The NBA has declined to comment thus far.
Smart people read: “WE MATTER”
Stupid people read: “WE, the Black men & women who are “racist”, are the only lives that MATTER”
— Latisha Applebum (@LatishaApplebum) October 27, 2016
also no explanation how “we matter” is antithetical to their soft “together” campaign. https://t.co/x8bq9o8IiG
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) October 27, 2016
Yeah. I wanna know who down there thinks “We Matter” is some kind of huge, divisive, problematic statement, at an NBA game… https://t.co/jMUe1gp1ir
— Les Bowen (@LesBowen) October 27, 2016
If Taylor Swift wore a “We Matter” shirt whiling singing the anthem for the @Sixers yesterday, would they have yanked her?
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 27, 2016
The fans that you’re worried about “offending” because of a “We Matter” shirt are not the type of fans you should want around your program.
— Corey Slade (@Corey_Deshawn) October 27, 2016