National anthem singer Leah Tysse takes knee during performance at Kings game (Video)

Kelly Dwyer
The view from the stands during the Anthem. (Getty Images)
The view from the stands during the Anthem. (Getty Images)

Leah Tysse, a singer chosen to perform ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at a Sacramento Kings exhibition game on Monday evening, took a knee during the song’s final stanza in protest of what she calls the “deep system of institutionalized racism in America.”

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The Kings, in a statement, recognized Tysse’s protest while supporting her right to “exercise her freedom of speech.”

From Sacramento’s local CBS affiliate KOVR, here is a report discussing Leah’s performance:

Tysse, who declined invitations to speak with both KOVR and the Sacramento Bee, released a statement on her Facebook page, via The Root:

“Why I took a knee while singing the Anthem at a Sacramento Kings NBA game: This act embodies the conflict many of us feel. I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans. I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability.

“I believe that the majority of police are good and are against this too and as a nation we all need to speak up. We should all be outraged and demand justice and an end to the brutality. Let’s look around our communities for those facilitating healthy interactions between law enforcement and communities of color and support.

“The sad reality is, as a white American I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families. Let’s be honest. Until we can recognize that white privilege exists we cannot have a dialogue about race. Whether or not you can see if from your vantage point, there is a deep system of institutionalized racism in America, from everyday discrimination to disproportionate incarceration of people of color to people losing their lives at the hands of the police simply for being black. This is not who we claim to be as a nation. It is wrong and I won’t stand for it. #solidarity#pleasevote”

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Though some fans took exception to Tysse’s form of protest …

her Twitter page is filled with re-tweets of support from those saluting her performance, her stance, and her bravery:

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!