Sevyn Streeter’s national anthem performance pulled due to “We Matter” jersey

Update: Artist Sevyn Streeter signed a contract that prohibited political statements

New information has surfaced in regards to the current events surrounding Sevyn Streeter. Apparently, the artist was bound to a contract that did not allow for the jersey to be worn. If it was as simple as that, why didn’t the NBA and Sixers organization come out and say so?

Amidst this update, an even deeper question arises. Why is it that when someone wants to no longer be oppressed and speak up for themselves or a community, it is looked at as something negative or a political statement?

76ers stop Sevyn Streeter’s national anthem performance over “We Matter” jersey

Sevyn Streeter was previously scheduled to perform the national anthem ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers versus the Oklahoma City Thunder game, but she said in an interview with The Associated Press late Wednesday that 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 singer said by phone. “I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.”

“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,” Streeter said. “Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can’t be ignored.”

“I was angry, extremely, extremely angry, and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart,” she said. “Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that.”

A 76ers dancer identified as Jemila performed the anthem in place of Sevyn Streeter:

The Sixers declined to say why Sevyn’s performance was canceled. Also, the NBA had no comment.

“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 Sixers said in a statement.

Streeter could be seen and heard practicing the anthem during Action News reporter Jeff Skversky’s report previewing the game.

This raises many questions. The most pressing is “WHY?!”

Why was Sevyn Steeter not allowed to perform? What did she do that warranted the cancellation of her performance?

The statement from the team is seemingly contradictory. The 76ers claim via statement that they encourage meaningful actions to drive social change. Not only was Sevyn’s action of wearing a “We Matter” shirt meaningful and working towards positive social change, but it was peaceful and not seeking to harm anyone. As a matter of fact, she clearly would like the pain and suffering of people of color to to come to an end. Why does the NBA and 76ers organization not feel the same?

One thing we know about professional sports leagues in this country is that they are brands. They are generally only concerned with the well being of its “living breathing machine”. Technically, I’m not saying that is a bad thing, however, I must speak up on the negative affects that manifest when they arise.

In business, cost-benefit is a n important form of analysis when making decisions. Maybe the Sixers thought the cons of the potential performance outweighed the pros. If the NBA and the Sixers were concerned with the reaction they would get by allowing Sevyn Streeter to perform in a harmless “We Matter” jersey, did they not consider the effects of canceling her performance right before the game?

The fans also want some answers.

Weigh in and let us know your thoughts on the issue.

  • Nnebby

    This is truly unfortunate, it shows that even with our contributions as athletes and musicians we don’t get the respect we deserve. The statement from the team was less than and I doubt the NBA will discuss this issue any further than they have. Sevyn deserves a sincere apology and a real discussion between injustices and sports should take place.

  • Unsurprising but disappointing…they’re scared of hurting the bottom line. Profit. Even if it means siilencing very very valid reactions to oppression.