ABOVE PHOTO: Sevyn Streeter (Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com)
By Dan Gelston
The Philadelphia 76ers have apologized for canceling the national anthem performance of a singer wearing a “We Matter” jersey.
The 76ers backtracked from their original stance when they told R&B singer Sevyn Streeter she could not perform the anthem before Wednesday night’s season opener because of the shirt’s slogan.
“We are sorry that this happened,” the Sixers said in a Friday statement. “After receiving feedback from our players, basketball operations staff and ownership group, we believe that the wrong decision was made, and Sevyn should have been welcomed to sing. We apologize to her, and in an effort to move the conversation forward, we have reached out to offer her an opportunity to return and perform at a game of her choice. We are waiting to hear back.”
A person familiar with the decision to invite Streeter back said she would be allowed to wear her “We Matter” jersey if she decided to sing. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the Sixers had not announced the detail publicly.
Streeter could not immediately be reached for comment.
Streeter said in an interview with The Associated Press late Wednesday she was told she would not sing just minutes before her performance.
“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 players met and were considering whether to respond to Streeter’s cancellation.
“Everybody expressed their emotions about it,” forward Robert Covington said. “We want to take steps about it. We just don’t know exactly what steps we want to take. We talked about a lot of different things.”