PHILADELPHIA (CelebrityAccess) – The Philadelphia Flyers removed a statue of late singer Kate Smith that stood outside the NHL team’s arena since 1987 on Sunday, reports the Associated Press.
The move arrives just two days after the Flyers covered the statue amid allegations of racism against the singer and announced that her popular recording of the song “God Bless America” had been removed from their library indefinitely.
But, it was Smith’s 1939 rendition of the song, “That’s Why the Darkies Were Born,” originally from the Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals,” as well as an advertisement in which she heavily uses the mammy caricature, that sparked the recent public outcry against the late 1930s singer.
Smith’s connection with the Flyers started in 1969 when a team executive ordered her version of “God Bless America” to be played instead of “The Star Spangled Banner,” reports to AP.
Commenting on the decision, Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a statement: “The NHL principle ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ is at the heart of everything the Flyers stand for. As a result, we cannot stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today.”
The New York Yankees also recently suspended use of Smith’s recording during the seventh-inning stretch.