The Tenors, a Canadian vocal group, caused an uproar at Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game in San Diego after one “lone wolf” member inserted the lyrics “All lives matter” into their pregame rendition of “O Canada.” Following a firestorm of criticism, the group announced late Tuesday that they would not be performing with that singer again “until further notice.”
As is customary at baseball games involving the Toronto Blue Jays or all-star games, a rendition of “O Canada” preceded the first inning action. During a solo in the Tenors’ performance, singer and Tenors co-founder Remigio Pereira changed the “O Canada” lyrics to “We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great” (The actual lyric: “With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.”)
Pereira also held up a handwritten sign that read “All Lives Matter” on one side and “United We Stand” on the other, ESPN reports.
When word spread of the performance – the Canadian anthem was not shown on U.S. television – Pereira’s actions were met with instant criticism, as it came just a week after the police shooting deaths of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, as well as the deaths of five police officers patrolling a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas. Canadians were also upset that Pereira disrespected their anthem.
An MLB spokesman stated that the league had no idea the singer would use the anthem to voice his political views. Midway through the game, the “shocked and embarrassed” Tenors apologized in a statement where they also announced that Pereira would no longer remain a member of the Juno Award-winning group.
— The Tenors (@TenorsMusic) July 13, 2016
“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,” the group wrote. “The other members of the group are shocked and embarrassed by the actions of Remigio Pereira, who changed the lyrics of our treasured anthem and used this coveted platform to serve his own political views.”
The Tenors added, “The actions of one member of this group were extremely selfish and he will not be performing with The Tenors until further notice.”
“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,” Pereira wrote. “I am disturbed that people would attribute anything other than the purist [sic] of intentions to my actions. I weep for the senseless loss of life, the lives of all my brothers and sisters in this world. I speak for the human race and the lives of all sentient beings. Love, peace and harmony for ALL has always been my life’s purpose. I say this from the bottom and all corners of my heart, be good to one another, love one another. Let us all live in peace, it is everyone’s birthright. Once we awaken the love within, we will never be without.”