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.
Although the audio wasn’t crystal-clear at the park, 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.
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 a common online response in recent months to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, particularly after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
The motivations and ethnicities of the proponents of the “All Lives Matter” response vary, but it has received heavy criticism. The phrase is widely perceived to use reductive reasoning to trivialize the problems specifically facing blacks.