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Yankees and Flyers Stop Playing Kate Smith's "God Bless America" Due to Racist Songs

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And the Flyers removed her statue



The Philadelphia Flyers have removed a statue of Kate Smith from outside the team’s arena following allegations of racism against the late singer, team officials said.

The removal of the statue ends the team’s “long and popular relationship” with Smith, whose version of “God Bless America” had been part of the team’s game presentations since 1969 when a team executive ordered her rendition to be played instead of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The decision follows allegations of racism in connection with some of Smith’s songs, including a 1939 tune called “That’s Why the Darkies Were Born” and “Pickaninnies’ Heaven” from the early 1930s. Both songs include racist language and references, although the former has been claimed to be satirical.

“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 Flyers said in a statement on Sunday.


The Yankees, meanwhile, switched to a keyboard version of Smith’s “God Bless America” last month after learning of the controversial songs. The recording had been played during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium since the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, at the insistence of late owner George Steinbrenner. Smith’s version had been played at the stadium twice this season.




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