Philadelphia Flyers remove statue of Kate Smith as racism controversy expands
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The NHL's Philadelphia Flyers have removed a statue of singer Kate Smith from in front of its arena as the late singer has faced allegations of racism in recent weeks.

The Flyers will also no longer play Smith’s version of "God Bless America" at games, the franchise said in a statement Sunday, according to ESPN.

"The Flyers have enjoyed a long and popular relationship with 'God Bless America,' as performed by the late Kate Smith, a woman who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor for her patriotic contributions to our nation,” the statement read.

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"But in recent days, we learned that several of the songs Kate Smith performed in the 1930s include lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes."

The move follows that of MLB's New York Yankees, who announced last week that it would no longer play her famed rendition of the song during games.

The New York Daily News first reported last week on controversial songs performed or written by Smith, including one called "That's Why Darkies Were Born."

There are conflicting reports about the song, ESPN notes, with some saying it is intended as satire, though there is racist language in the lyrics.

The Flyers put up a statue of Smith outside their arena after a live performance of the song before Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final, according to ESPN. Philadelphia won that game to claim its first of back-to-back championships.