The 76ers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night (October 26) is trending on social media, but it’s not because the world is excited about the team’s home opener.
Singer Sevyn Streeter stirred up interest when she tweeted about why she didn’t sing the national anthem before the game. She says she was barred because she was wearing a jersey that said “We matter.”
— Sevyn (@sevyn) October 27, 2016
“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. I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe,” Streeter told The Associated Press.
She went on to explain why she choose to wear the jersey for her performance. “I also felt it was important to express the ongoing challenges and ongoing injustice we face as a Black community within the United States of America—that’s very important to me. Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world, but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can’t be ignored.”
Representatives for the organization did not address why a member of the dance team sang the anthem at the last minute, but they released the following statement, cited by The AP: “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 move came nearly a week after Denasia Lawrence dropped to one knee while opening a preseason game between the 76ers and the Miami Heat, per ESPN. The singer opened her jacket to reveal a shirt that said “Black Lives Matter” during the performance.
Protests—from kneeling to linking arms to lying down—have become more common at sporting events in the weeks since San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first opted not to stand during the anthem in silent protest of police violence leveled against African Americans.