Yankees Fans Call for Boycott After Ban of Kate Smith’s ‘God Bless America’

Kate Smith
Getty Images/Jared Wickersham
WARNER TODD HUSTON

Yankees fans are calling for a boycott in response to the team’s banning of Kate Smith’s version of God Bless America. The team ditched the late singer’s rendition after a they learned Smith had also sung some controversial songs about blacks back in the 1930s.

According to the New York Post Yankees fans have been bombarding social media with a multitude of criticism for the team’s decision to ban the singer from Yankee Stadium.

For instance, one fan wrote, “boycotting the Yankees until Kate Smith is back, otherwise I am kissing a half century of loyalty goodbye.”

Die-hard Yankees fan James Foley even sent a scolding letter to Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner saying, “Your father [George Steinbrenner] is turning in his grave.”

Foley added that if the same standards used to ban Smith were turned against many of the most famous past Yankees players, many would be similarly banned, including such famed players as Babe Ruth.

“Why not purge the lot of them and be honest about your political correctness. Remove the plaques from Monument Park,” Foley scoffed.

Kate Smith’s remaining family is grateful for the support.

Smith’s niece, Suzy Andron, told the Post that she hopes the decision will be reversed and that it was all just a “misunderstanding.”

“Most are solidly behind the positive notion that this is a misunderstanding by a few people who took two or three of her songs [out of 3,000 that she recorded] out of context,” she said, “and inflated a story that my Aunt Kathryn must have been a racist.”

Saying that it is unfortunate that the Yankees “bought into” the absurd idea that Smith was a racist, Andron added, “Most reasonable people realize that it was a misunderstood, knee-jerk over-reaction which they hope will be corrected soon.”

The Yankees are not the only team to ban Smith. Despite decades of using God Bless America as a rallying point for the team, the Philadelphia Flyers also banned Smith for “racism.”

Fans in Philly, though, are just as incensed as fans in New York. More than 10,000 fans have signed two petitions to bring the song back.

Andron has asked for meetings with the teams, but neither has responded.

The two songs that Smith sang, which detractors point to as evidence of racism, were titled That’s Why Darkies Were Born, and Pickaninny Heaven.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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