Multiple professional sports franchises are distancing themselves from legendary 1930s singer Kate Smith due to her alleged history of singing racist songs.
Last week, the New York Yankees pulled Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” from the stadium’s 7th-inning stretch, which had been a tradition at Yankee Stadium for nearly two decades. Then, on Easter Sunday, the Philadelphia Flyers announced that they had removed a statue of Smith from outside the team’s arena. (RELATED: Watch A Young Screaming Yankees Fan Try To Show How Badly He Didn’t Want Machado)
“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,” the Flyers said in a statement Sunday. “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.”
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 21, 2019
The decision to ditch Smith for racist songs that were recorded nearly 90 years ago was widely panned, with Smith’s family saying that they were “appalled” by the decision. Smith’s niece Suzy Andron said of the singer, “Aunt Katherine was probably one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. She was certainly anything but a prejudice person. She loved everybody.”
Smith allegedly sang songs titled “Pickaninny Heaven” and “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” in the early 1930s, in which the lyrics read: “Someone had to pick the cotton/ Someone had to plant the corn/ Someone had to slave and be able to sing/ That’s why darkies were born.”
One Flyers’ season ticket holder posted notes on Smith’s covered statue with the words, “God Bless Kate Smith,” and “Happy Easter!”
— Cleve Bryan CBS3 (@CleveBryan) April 19, 2019
Others pointed to her charitable endeavors, with Outkick the Coverage’s Clay Travis estimating that Smith raised $600 million to fight Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in World War II.
While some saw the situation as an example of political correctness gone awry:
This Kate Smith story is total insanity. We have all lost our damn minds.
Where does it all end? Probably with Trump’s re-election. https://t.co/h07YQq0wVW
— John Ziegler (@Zigmanfreud) April 21, 2019
So all the joy that Kate Smith’s singing brought to the world goes down the memory hole, because 90 years ago she recorded a *possibly* racist song (Paul Robeson recorded it too) that no one remembers her for anyway.
Another win for the totalitarians.https://t.co/j0D9EyCG2i
— Jeff Jacoby (@Jeff_Jacoby) April 19, 2019
Smith passed away in 1986 at the age of 79.