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Sixers issue apology for “We Matter” National Anthem decision

The team takes their first step toward making things right.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

What should have been a celebration of Joel Embiid’s big debut went off course over the last 36 hours, with the Sixers finding themselves in the crosshairs of the public over the national anthem controversy. This afternoon, they took their first step toward making things right.

The team released the following statement on the matter:

We are sorry this happened. After receiving feedback from our players, basketball operations staff and ownership group, we believe the wrong decision was made, and Sevyn should have been welcomed to sing. We apologize to her, and in an effort to move the conversation forward, we have reached out to offer her an opportunity to return and perform at a game of her choice. We are waiting to hear back.

This is what the team had to do, so I’ll hold back praise for the organization because they did what was required of them. If the 40-minute meeting with their players yesterday is any indication, they had fence-mending to do, and this is simply the first move.

What will be interesting to watch from here is how they continue to handle matters of this ilk, and what the players decide they want to say and do about it. Robert Covington took the point in discussion after practice yesterday, sharing that Sixers players had something cooking:

Collectively, we talked about it, everybody expressed their emotions about it, Covington said. We know that we want to take steps about it. We just don’t know exactly what steps we want to take. We talked about a lot of different things. That’s one thing that, as a team, we’re very aware of now that the whole incident’s happened. It’s not something we’re going to look over. It’s just a matter of time.

If the organization makes a real effort to collaborate with their players and the community in order to make the right decisions in the future, they will be better off for it. They did the right thing and did what many corporations won’t do — they outright admitted they were wrong. Now the onus is on them to be a part of positive change moving forward.