Pop singer Sevyn Streeter says the 76ers prevented her from singing the national anthem on Wednesday because she wore a jersey that read ‘We Matter.’
The Sixers opened the 2016–17 season at home against the Thunder, and Streeter tweeted that her choice of garb and accompanying statement led to a last-second change by the team. A member of the Sixers’ dance team sang the national anthem instead.
The NBA declined comment to ESPN, deferring to a team statement from the 76ers.
"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 wrote.
National anthem protests have spread across sports, stemming from Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel ahead of NFL games to call attention to racial injustices and police brutality in America. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said publicly that he hopes NBA players will stand for the anthem.