Sports

NHL Team Covers Statue, Will Stop Playing 'God Bless America' Recording over Alleged Racism

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As dispiriting and jarring as it was for the New York Yankees to ditch Kate Smith’s historic rendition of “God Bless America” over, as the New York Daily News described it, “potential racism,” it wasn’t a huge surprise given the Yankees’ recent penchant for virtue signaling.

Something that is genuinely surprising?

The Philadelphia Flyers going to great lengths to scrub the iconic singer, given Smith’s historic ties to the franchise.

On top of that, “scrubs” might be an understatement.

The Flyers announced that not only will they cease using Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America,” but they haphazardly covered up the iconic statue of Smith that has stood outside the Wells Fargo Center and its predecessor, the Spectrum, since 1987.

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Unsurprisingly, many passionate Philadelphia sports fans were none too happy with the censorship of both the song and the statue.

It’s hard to blame Flyers fans for feeling the way they do. One of the most iconic moments in franchise history was Smith singing “God Bless America” in person prior to the team winning its first Stanley Cup in 1974.

Smith’s rendition was a notable salve given the enormous political and racial tensions in America at the time, as NBC Sports noted in 2016.

“The crowd’s indifference to the playing of the national anthem before games seemed an obvious backlash to Vietnam and what was happening on home soil, as well,” NBC’s Tim Panaccio wrote.

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Do you agree with the Flyers' decision?

“It was a pretty tough, troubled time, and there was a lot of unhappiness in the United States,” Lou Scheinfeld, former Flyers vice president of business operations, said, per NBC. “People were angry and kind of unpatriotic at the time.”

Smith’s “God Bless America” was the fix that was needed, according to Scheinfeld.

And now, Smith, who died in 1986, won’t even have a chance to defend herself against these allegations of “potential racism.”

Smith’s legacy has come under fire after a report from the Daily News alleged that she had a history of racism based on her song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” from the satirical 1939 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals.”

Never mind that the revue was satire, or that the song was also sung by legendary black performer Paul Robeson. The PC police saw a chance to judge 1939 by 2019’s standards and they couldn’t help themselves.

Philadelphia has always been closely entwined with its sports teams, and it’s genuinely perplexing that the Flyers would kowtow to these allegations of “potential racism” from 1939.

To be clear, racism is obviously terrible and should be condemned to the fullest extent. But if America is going to start posthumously excoriating people based on little more than “potential” and allegations, that is as slippery of a slope imaginable.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than two years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than two years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Birthplace
Hawaii
Education
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech




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