The Tenors say they are “deeply sorry” for a political statement made during the singing of O Canada on Tuesday night before the Major League Baseball all-star game in San Diego.
During their on-field performance at Petco Park, a line in the anthem was changed to “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.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, members of the British Columbia-based quartet blame the altered lyric on group member Remigio Pereira, saying he acted as a “lone wolf” who changed the anthem to “serve his own political views.”
The statement says the other members of the group are “shocked and embarrassed” and are deeply sorry for what they call the “disrespectful and misguided lack of judgment by one member of the group.”
Pereira also held up a sign during the Canadian anthem saying “All Lives Matter” while singing the altered lyrics. The words “United We Stand” were written on the back of the sign.
Although the audio wasn’t crystal-clear at the park, many fans reacted with surprise. The Canadian anthem wasn’t shown live on U.S. television, but it aired in Canada, where the decision to change the words drew a whirlwind of criticism on social media.
“Our sincere apologies and regrets go out to everybody who witnessed this shameful act, to our fellow Canadians, to Major League Baseball, to our friends, families, fans and to all those affected,” the statement continued.
“The actions of one member of this group were extremely selfish and he will not be performing with The Tenors until further notice,” said the statement.
The other members of the Tenors are Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters and Victor Micallef. The Juno Award-winning group has recorded multiple platinum albums in Canada.
The term “All Lives Matter” was born in controversy into the American political vocabulary last year. In the heat of a debate over police shootings, presidential candidate Martin O’Malley uttered the phrase at a Democratic party forum. He was booed and later apologized.
Some viewed it as an innocuous statement. Conservatives ridiculed O’Malley for apologizing, and Donald Trump called him a weak, pathetic baby.
Others saw that phrase as anything but innocent — critics said it was designed to squash a nascent national conversation about police-related violence against African-Americans, by switching the subject.