R&B singer Tank says he will not perform the national anthem at Tuesday’s Clippers game in Los Angeles in response to racially charged comments believed to have been made by the team’s owner, Donald Sterling.
“As an African-American man and artist, I must take a stand on this matter that is so deeply personal to me,” he said. “In light of the recent disturbing and offensive allegations, I cannot move forward with my scheduled appearance at Tuesday’s Los Angeles Clippers Game.”
Tank continued, “Although I appreciate the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the game, I cannot associate my brand with an owner or event where African-Americans and other minorities are not welcome.”
A firestorm began over the weekend with the release of audio recordings of a man identified as Sterling asking a girlfriend to stop being seen with black people.
“You can sleep with them, you can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it…and not to bring them to my games.”
In the wake of the audio, sponsors including CarMax, Amtrak, Kia, Virgin America and State Farm have either suspended or canceled their sponsorships of the team.
The playoff series between the Clippers and the Golden State Warriors is tied 2-2. Sunday night’s game began with a silent protest by Clippers players, but ended with the team being blown out by the Warriors 118-97.
On Sunday, former Village People police officer Victor Willis took to Twitter saying he’s planning a formal ban on the use of the song “Y.M.C.A.” at L.A.-based Clippers games.