The Flyers have removed the bronze statue of Kate Smith from outside Xfinity Live! and will no longer play the late singer’s rendition of “God Bless America” at games, the team announced Sunday.
The statue had initially been covered with black tarp on Friday, but was gone by Sunday.
#EasterSunday #katesmith is gone. Video from @XfinityLive in South Philly. pic.twitter.com/9YRaedv7uc
— Tony Bruno (@TonyBrunoShow) April 21, 2019
Kate Smith statue covered up outside Wells Fargo Center. Sports teams including @Flyers cutting ties to late singer after reports she sang songs with offensive and racist lyrics. 📷: E. Fisher @FOX29philly pic.twitter.com/4xMsJ0sawB
— Chris O’Connell (@CoconnellFox29) April 19, 2019
The Kate Smith statue has been removed from outside the Wells Fargo Center. pic.twitter.com/iQvMY1OsA0
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 21, 2019
The move comes after the Yankees suspended the use of Smith’s version of “God Bless America” while the club investigates allegations of racism against her.
The Flyers issued a lengthy statement on the matter Sunday:
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.
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 NHL principle ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ is at the heart of everything the Flyers stand for,” said Flyers president Paul Holmgren “As a result, we cannot stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today.”
While Kate Smith’s performance of “God Bless America'”cannot be erased from its place in Flyers history, that rendition will no longer be featured in our game presentations. And to ensure the sentiments stirred this week are no longer echoed, earlier today we completed the removal of the Kate Smith statue from its former location outside of our arena.
The Flyers played Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America” for good luck before must-win games beginning in 1969. According to the team, they went 101-31-5 in games where her version of the song aired.
The organization constructed the statue of Smith in 1987 after she died one year earlier at age 79. It was moved to the parking lot of Xfinity Live! in 2011 following the demolition of the Spectrum.