The Yankees will no longer be using Smith’s rendition of the song during the seventh-inning stretch following claims about the singer’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.” The move comes after reports of the Philadelphia Flyers banning the song and covering up a statue of the singer.
The song originated in a 1930s Broadway play, “George White’s Scandals,” and was considered satire at the time it was debuted. It was recorded by Smith and Paul Robeson, an African American.
The song has been played at Yankee stadium since 2001, 15 years after Smith died. Other sports teams in several leagues have also opted to stop using Smith’s version of the song at their games.
Since suspending Smith’s version take on the song, the Yankees have opted to use an organ version during games this week.
According to the New York Daily News, this isn’t the first time the Bronx Bombers were forced to ax a version of “God Bless America. In 2009, they cut out Ronan Tynan after he allegedly made anti-Semitic remarks while attempting to make a joke.
"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,” the team said in a statement. “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."
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