Performing artist Sevyn Streeter was scheduled to sing the national anthem Wednesday night before the Sixers' season opener but says she was replaced because of the jersey she was wearing.
Jemila Worley, a member of the Sixers' dance team, sang the anthem instead.
Streeter says the change was made because she was wearing a jersey with the words "We Matter" displayed on the front.
"I'm at the 76ers game to sing the national anthem," the singer/songwriter said in a video she posted on Twitter, "and the organization is telling me that I can't because I'm wearing a 'We Matter' jersey."
"I'd say two minutes before we were about to walk out ... the organization told me that I could not wear my shirt while singing the national anthem at their game," Streeter told The Associated Press. "I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe.
"I also felt it was important to express the ongoing challenges and ongoing injustice we face as a black community within the United States of America — that's very important to me. Yes, we live in the greatest country in the world but there are issues that we cannot ignore. This can't be ignored."
However, per a CBS3 report, Streeter signed a contract precluding her from making a politcal statement and was offered an alternate shirt.
The Sixers didn't directly confirm or deny the allegation but responded with the following statement:
"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."
This statement is consistent with efforts being made throughout the NBA calling for action over gestures, as detailed in a feature in B/R Mag.
“I’m past the gestures,” Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that — enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff — we need to start putting things in place.”
During the ESPYS in July, Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade made a powerful speech urging for action to end social injustice.
“These guys put themselves in a leadership position,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told B/R Mag. “So when they see sort of symbolic gestures by athletes in other sports, and not to devalue them in any way, I think their view is: We’ve moved past that stage already. ... We will be judged by the substantive actions we’re taking in our communities.”
In the Sixers' previous game, the preseason finale against the Heat in Miami, Denasia Lawrence performed the anthem while wearing a "Black Lives Matter" shirt and kneeling on one knee. She said she did it to protest racial oppression.
Streeter, whose proper name is Amber Denise Streeter, is the latest to use the national anthem as a stage to protest racism and social injustice. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the well-documented movement by refusing to stand during the anthem, and various other professional athletes have made their own statements.
In a protest planned by Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, Jenkins and a handful of teammates raised their fists during the anthem before the team's Week 2 game against the Bears on Monday Night Football.
"I was angry, extremely, extremely angry and disappointed and honestly brought to tears by all of it. It broke my heart," Streeter told the AP. "Honestly, I was very excited about being able to perform the national anthem. I was really looking forward to that."
Streeter has written music for the likes of Chris Brown, Ariana Grande, Alicia Keys, Brandy and Estelle, and recorded a song for the blockbuster movie Furious 7. Her song "It Won't Stop," which also featured Brown, was a Top 40 hit in 2013 and reached RIAA gold status.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.