Canadian Singers Apologize for "All Lives Matter" Lyrics During All-Star Game National Anthem
The Tenors caused a stir at Petco Park with their unexpected actions while singing "O Canada."
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Canadian singing quartet changed a lyric in its national anthem and held up a sign proclaiming "All Lives Matter" during its pregame performance at the 87th All-Star Game on Tuesday.
The Tenors, a group based in British Columbia, caused a stir at Petco Park with their unexpected actions while singing "O Canada." One member of the group held up the sign during the middle portion of the anthem, which is often sung in French at sporting events.
The Tenors instead sang: "We're all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great." The normal lyric is "With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free."
"United We Stand" was written on the back of the quartet's sign.
Many fans reacted with surprise when they saw the sign on the ballpark video scoreboard. The Canadian anthem wasn't shown live on U.S. television, but it aired in Canada, where The Tenors' decisions lit up social media with overwhelming criticism of the change.
Tuesday night, The Tenors responded with a statement on Twitter, pointing to one member of the group who made the decision to change the lyrics: "The Tenors are deeply sorry for the disrespectful and misguided lack of judgment by one member of the group acting as a 'lone wolf' today during the singing of the Canadian national anthem," said the tweet, adding that the rest of the group was "shocked and embarrassed."
The group also said in the statement that Remigio Pereira, the singer who changed the words, "will not be performing with The Tenors until further notice."
Pereira later tweeted his own apology: "I've been so moved lately by the tragic loss of life and I hoped for a positive statement that would bring us ALL together. ONE LOVE. That was my singular motivation when I said all lives matter."
The Tenors are Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters, Remigio Pereira and Victor Micallef. The Juno Award-winning group has recorded multiple platinum albums in Canada while performing around the world, including gigs at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, the 2012 Queen's Jubilee in England and the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
"All Lives Matter" has become an online response in recent months to the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. The phrase has received heavy criticism, and is widely perceived to use reductive reasoning to trivialize the problems specifically facing blacks.
A video of the performance is below.
July 12, 10:30 p.m. Updated with Remigio Pereira's response.