The Tenors say member Remigio Pereira will no longer perform with the Canadian vocal quartet until further notice, blaming him for altering the O Canada lyrics at the MLB all-star game on Tuesday by including the phrase "all lives matter."
The Tenors, a group based in British Columbia, blamed Pereira for changing the lyrics in the national anthem during their on-field performance at Petco Park while he held up a sign reading "All Lives Matter.
Correction: The Tenors altered O Canada lyrics in support of All Lives Matter. <a href="https://t.co/Q0i6qqLB4Y">pic.twitter.com/Q0i6qqLB4Y</a>—@BillCooney
The change happened during the middle portion of the anthem, which is often sung in French at sporting events.
During his solo, Pereira unexpectedly 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."
Pereira also held up a sign that said "All Lives Matter," with United We Stand" written on the back.
The phrase "all lives matter" is widely viewed as a rejection of the Black Lives Matter movement, particularly after the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It has been perceived to use reductive reasoning to trivialize the problems specifically facing black people.
The band later issued a statement blaming "lone wolf" Pereira for the controversy.
"The other members of the group are shocked and embarrassed," the group said on Twitter. "The actions of the one member of this group were extremely selfish and he will not be performing with The Tenors until further notice."
Pereira has defended his actions, which he said were meant to envoke "love, peace and harmony."
"I've been so moved lately by the tragic loss of life and I hoped for a positive statement that would bring us ALL together," he tweeted.
I've been so moved lately by the tragic loss of life and I hoped for a positive statement that would bring us ALL together. ONE LOVE.—@RemigioPereira
That was my singular motivation when I said all lives matter.—@RemigioPereira
I speak for the human race and the lives of all sentient beings. Love, peace and harmony for ALL has always been my life's purpose.—@RemigioPereira
Major League Baseball also had no idea Pereira intended to make a political statement, spokesman Matt Bourne said.
Although the audio wasn't crystal-clear at the park, many fans reacted with surprise.
If you squint, you can see this guy going "brrrrrruhhhhhhhhhh" <a href="https://t.co/05LKIDCIXN">pic.twitter.com/05LKIDCIXN</a>—@elamin88
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, Pereira and Victor Micallef. The Juno Award-winning group has recorded multiple platinum albums in Canada.
Member of the Tenors, singing the Canadian anthem here, just held "All Lives Matter" card up during the song: <a href="https://t.co/4YGlbYYr5o">pic.twitter.com/4YGlbYYr5o</a>—@chelsea_janes
The change didn't go unnoticed on social media, as tweets quickly poured in acknowledging the alteration.
Changing the words at all is dumb. Changing it to include "All Lives Matter" is grounds for deportation, IMHO.—@AndrewStoeten
Memo to MLB: if you're looking to attract black fans and players, All Lives Mattering the anthem -- even O Canada -- ain't the way to do it.—@MorganPCampbell
I do appreciate that our collective reaction to the <a href="https://twitter.com/TenorsMusic">@TenorsMusic</a> stunt was like when you bite into a chocolate chip cookie and find raisins.—@EmmMacfarlane
The political repercussions of The Tenors' decision were also felt, as the change to the lyrics comes following a week of Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of two police shootings that left two black men dead in Baton Rouge and St. Paul, and culminating in Friday's deadly sniper attack on Dallas police officers.
Canada fact: The Tenors used to be called The Canadian Tenors but they aren't anymore, and good call, because they do NOT speak for us—@HarrisonMooney
Pathetic and embarrassing performance from The Tenors. Baseball should be an escape from politics—not embroiled in it.—@CPGtaylor
Just remember.<br><br>The next time you fix your mouth to say "Racism isn't as bad in Canada."<br><br>That <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AllLivesMatter?src=hash">#AllLivesMatter</a> remix was sung by Canadians.—@AndrayDomise
And then came the questions of whether the lyric change even made sense.
Wait, did the Tenors change the lyrics of the anthem because they think Canadians are actually all brothers and sisters? THAT IS INSULTING.—@JakeAReid
at some point the outrage at the tenors is gonna calm enough that we can discuss how the line doesn't even make sense—@jrlind
With files from The Associated Press