‘God Bless America’ singer Kate Smith statue covered up in Philly, leaves fans furious over PC fiasco

Fans of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers are not happy with the team’s decision to cave to political correctness and pull  Kate Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” at home games.

The Flyers joined baseball’s New York Yankees in halting the use of the song after allegations of racism against the legendary singer who recorded the song in 1939. A statue of Smith which has stood outside of Philadelphia’s sports arena since 1987 was also covered up because she apparently sang songs with racist lyrics back in the 1930s.

(Video via KYWTV)

“We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization,” the Flyers said in a statement, according to The New York Times. “As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith’s recording of ‘God Bless America’ from our library and covering up the statue that stands outside of our arena.”

The singer, who died in 1986 at age 79, sang a 1931 song, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which was considered a satire of racism at the time. The song, which was also recorded by black singer and civil rights activist, Paul Robeson, opened: “Someone had to pick the cotton, Someone had to pick the corn, Someone had to slave and be able to sing, That’s why darkies were born.”

The Yankees, who had played Smith’s rendition of the 1918 Irving Berlin song before the seventh-inning stretch for 18 years, pulled it after one fan pointed out the lyrics from another song recorded nearly 90 years ago, according to The New York Times.

“The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,” a spokesman for the baseball team said. “The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

Smith and her version of the song had a special meaning for the Flyers who believed it brought them good luck, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Since 1969, the team had played Smith’s version of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” before must-win games, where it proved to be a good-luck charm. According to the Flyers, the team went 101-31-5 in games where Smith’s version of the song aired, including 3-1-0 when Smith sang the song live at the Spectrum beginning with the Flyers’ 1973 home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

 

But the team scrapped the long history over the controversy and even covered up Smith’s statue.

Angry fans reacted, with some leaving notes on the covered bronze statue, saying “God Bless Kate Smith.”

Jack Fowler, a vice president of the National Review, penned a scathing piece blasting the Yankees who have “gotten so woke” and banished Smith.

“You are dead to me. You are a collection of Fredos. The cock has crowed, you pathetic sniveling jerks,” Fowler wrote in a piece published Friday, as he noted Smith’s many accomplishments, including receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

“(W)hen she wasn’t raising dough to crush fascism, Smith was visiting the soldiers,” Fowler wrote, citing the New York Times obituary that noted Smith had “traveled nearly 520,000 miles to entertain American troops.”

“At the height of her career, during World War II, she repeatedly was named one of the three or four most popular women in America,” according to The New York Times’  obituary  for Smith. “No single show-business figure even approached her as a seller of War Bonds during World War II. In one 18-hour stint on the CBS radio network, Miss Smith sold $107 million worth of war bonds, which were issued by the United States Government to finance the war effort. Her total for a series of marathon broadcasts was over $600 million.”

Many Twitter users expressed their outrage at the teams’ decisions and wondered just how far political correctness will be allowed to go.

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