Flyers Remove Kate Smith Statue Outside Arena, Won't Play Version of 'God Bless America'

The Flyers announced that they have officially removed a Kate Smith statue from outside their arena.
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The Philadelphia Flyers have officially removed a statue of Kate Smith from outside the Wells Fargo Center, the team announced Sunday. Additionally, the Flyers will no longer play Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" at games.

"The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with 'God Bless America,' as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation," the Flyers said in a statement, per ESPN. "But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes."

Philadelphia's decision comes just days after it was reported that the New York Yankees would no longer play Smith's version of "God Bless America" upon learning of her history with racist song lyrics.

According to the New York Daily News, Smith, who rose to fame during World War II, previously recorded songs such as "Pickaninny Heaven"—which was "directed at 'colored children' who should fantasize about an amazing place with 'great big watermelons"—and "That's Why Darkies Were Born."