Flyers

Kate Smith statue removed, Flyers ax her 'God Bless America' after racist songs come to light

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NBC Sports Philadelphia

Kate Smith statue removed, Flyers ax her 'God Bless America' after racist songs come to light

Updated: Sunday, noon

The Flyers have removed Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" from their music library and on Sunday, they removed the statue of the opera singer near the Wells Fargo Center in light of several songs by Smith containing racist lyrics being unearthed.

Here is the Flyers' statement released Sunday afternoon:

Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" was first played at select Flyers home games in the late 1960s. She first sung the song live in Philadelphia in 1973. Smith died at 79 years old in 1986 and her statue originally stood outside of the Spectrum. Now, it stands outside of XFINITY Live!

The Flyers' decision comes in the wake of a New York Daily News report, which stated the Yankees were no longer going to play Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch because of Smith's history of potential racism.

Below is a section of the report:

Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, 'Pickaninny Heaven' which she directed at 'colored children' who should fantasize about an amazing place with 'great big watermelons,' among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, 'That’s Why Darkies Were Born,' which included the lyrics, 'Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.'

In recent years past, before very select home games, whether it be a big playoff contest or a special occasion, Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" would play in cohesion with team anthemist Lauren Hart singing live, making for a duet.

That will no longer be the case moving forward.

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Flyers Talk podcast: Good news for Flyers as NHL's 24-team plan continues to take shape

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On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall analyze some good developments for the orange and black.

From breaking down the 24-team tournament and discussing the NHL's timeline, let's dive in:

1:00 — The latest on the NHL's 24-team format

3:30 — Why the Flyers are in a promising spot

9:40 — A breakdown of the timeline for a potential resumption

15:00 — What should we make of Max Kellerman's hot take?

18:30 — Claude Giroux sends powerful and important message

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

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Claude Giroux puts ESPN's Max Kellerman in his place for bad hot take on hockey

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Claude Giroux delivered an important message Wednesday night.

On Friday morning, he delivered a knockout.

Max Kellerman had a piping hot take about hockey Wednesday on ESPN's "First Take."

Anybody surprised? No? OK, so here it was:

Listen, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but in the United States of America, no one really cares about hockey. You know, the old joke is every town has 20,000 hockey fans, they all have season tickets, so the arenas are always sold out but the TV ratings don’t do anything. So it’s not one of the four major team sports.

Giroux, the Flyers' captain and one of the NHL's stars over the last decade, had an appropriate response.

Perfectly done. Giroux subtly put Kellerman in his place and clearly laughed it off, as should all hockey fans. Hockey fans are rabid and protective of their game, so Kellerman knew he could get a rise out of them. Nobody should let him accomplish that.

Why was Kellerman's take asinine? Our friend Joe Haggerty from NBC Sports Boston outlined that right here.

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