An NHL franchise has distanced itself from a notable singer in the wake of racism allegations.
The Philadelphia Flyers announced in a statement this afternoon that it will no longer play the “God Bless America” version from Kate Smith.
The franchise has also removed a Kate Smith statue from outside its arena.
“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.
“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,” the statement read.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 21, 2019
ESPN.com had details on the racism allegations:
The New York Daily News reported Thursday there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.” The song originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals” and was considered satire, but it includes racist language. It was recorded by Smith and also by Paul Robeson, who was black.
Smith did a live performance of “God Bless America” before Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Finals. The team went on to win the Stanley Cup for the second straight year and considered the song to be good luck.
The New York Yankees have also publicly distanced themselves from this version of the song in the wake of allegations.