The Philadelphia 76ers apologized Friday for not allowing singer-songwriter Sevyn Streeter to perform the national anthem at the team’s opening season game Wednesday because she wanted to wear a shirt that said “We Matter.”
“We are sorry that this happened,” the team said in a statement. “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 welcome to sing. We apologize to her.”
Streeter, who has written song for artists including Usher and Ariana Grande, revealed that team had decided not let her perform in the shirt in a video published to Twitter on Wednesday night. Afterward, she told the Associated Press that she felt “extremely, extremely angry, and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart.”
Streeter added that she believes the U.S. cannot continue to silence protests that hope to improve the treatment of people of color in the country.
“We live in the greatest country in the world, but there are issues that we cannot ignore,” she said.
The 76ers’ first statement on its refusal to let Streeter perform, released shortly after the Wednesday night game, did not deny her account of the incident. Rather, it said the organization wanted to “move from symbolic gestures to action.”
To try and right its wrong, the team has offered to let Streeter sing the anthem at a game of her choosing. The organization has yet to hear back.