Flyers ban Kate Smith's 'God Bless America' amid claims of singer's racist past

The Philadelphia Flyers have banned Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" from the Wells Fargo Center and will cover the statue of the famous singer outside the stadium following accusations of racism, the team announced.

The Flyers will follow the lead set by the New York Yankees, who suspended Smith's performance from the 7th inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.

The New York Daily News reported Thursday there are conflicting claims about Smith's 1939 song "That's Why Darkies Were Born." The song originated in the 1931 Broadway revue "George White's Scandals," and was considered satire. It was recorded by Smith and also by Paul Robeson, who was black.

The Flyers historical attachment to Smith's rendition dates back to 1969. However, the team has since only played her version before important games. The Flyers most recently used the song during thier Stanley Cup playoff games in 2018.

"We have recently become aware that several song performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization," the Flyers said in a statement.

AP contributed to this report