Baseball fans took to Twitter on Tuesday night to protest the fact that Marc Anthony, a Latino, had been selected to perform “God Bless America” at the 2013 MLB All-Star Game at New York City's Citi Field, resulting in a wave of racist tweets.
In the seventh inning, Anthony, a noted pop star, performed “God Bless America,” a tradition at most major sporting events. The performance sparked an outburst of racially charged criticism from some baseball fans on Twitter, who questioned everything from Anthony’s status as a “foreigner” (he was actually born and raised in New York City) to the manner in which he “rolled his Rs.”
“Why is Marc Anthony singing ‘God Bless America?' He isn’t even American. Shoulda got someone sweet like Kesha [sic],” Twitter user Spencer Babcock wrote. “Another disgrace Marc Anthony singing god bless America. Is he even an American citizen,” another fan, Brian Edwards, tweeted.
These tweets, while inflammatory, were just the beginning. Some Twitter users expressed their disapproval with Anthony’s performance by posting racially charged messages. “Why is some Spanish f--- singing God Bless America at the All-Star Game? That’s just wrong,” wrote one user. “Why the f--- is a s--- singing God Bless America?” wrote another.
In an interview with hosts Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa on “Live with Kelly and Michael,” Anthony addressed the Twitter controversy. “There were some statements made that people were upset that they would have someone from another country sing the national anthem,” Anthony said, according to Newsday. “Let’s get this straight: I was born and raised in New York. You can’t get more New York than me.”
Ripa expressed shock about the series of racist tweets, stating that racism generated by Anthony’s All-Star Game performance was “so depressing. I get depressed when I hear things like that.”
This isn’t the first time a sporting event appearance by a Latino performer has caused a racist backlash. In June, 11-year-old Sebastien de la Cruz’s mariachi routine at Game 3 of the NBA Finals caused a racist Twitter backlash of its own, NBC Latino reports.
Public Shaming, a Tumblr blog curated by Matt Binder, has a roundup of a few particularly incendiary tweets regarding Anthony’s All-Star Game performance, which can be found here. Be warned: Some of the tweets are graphically racist in nature and contain profanity.