The whole thing did seem a little too good. Last Saturday and again on Wednesday, we told you about Sevyn Streeter, the singer scheduled to perform the national anthem before the Philadelphia 76ers season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
When the 76ers noticed Streeter wearing a “We Matter” jersey, they informed her of their decision not let her sing the anthem. The 76ers then went ahead and allowed one of their cheerleaders to sing the anthem.
The story provided us with a rare respite from the pattern of sports teams caving to social justice warriors. This time, with the added bonus that the team defending the anthem took the inspiration for its name by the birth of our country.
Well, that was then.
On Friday afternoon, NBA.com reported that the 76ers did not just apologize to Streeter, the team also extended her an opportunity to come back and sing the anthem on another date. The team said in a statement, “We are sorry that this happened. After receiving feedback from our players, basketball operations staff and ownership group, we believe that the wrong decision was made, and Sevyn should have been welcomed to sing. We apologize to her, and in an effort to move the conversation forward, we have reached out to offer her an opportunity to return and perform at a game of her choice. We are waiting to hear back.”
According to ESPN, the 76ers organization changed their minds after “voices were heard” in a team meeting, and with the input of management.
Interesting that the 76ers sought the voices of their players and management, but didn’t think to listen to the voices of sports fans, especially given that NFL fans have grown increasingly hostile to anthem protests since Colin Kaepernick began his in the preseason.
According to a Yahoo! poll, most fans who have stopped watching football have done so because of anthem protests. A new poll from Seton Hall says that 56% of fans believe NFL ratings have fallen due to the protests.
So why exactly would the NBA willingly embrace this ratings destroying cancer that clearly turns fans off? Or, to ask the question in a better way, if the NBA and NFL attempted to alienate their fan bases, what would they do differently?
Given the 76ers Thursday to Friday flip-flop from the time they told Streeter she couldn’t perform until they apologized and begged her to come back, it appears the life expectancy of a principled stand in the Association is about 24 hours.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn