On Saturday night, the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus found themselves in the middle of a humiliating and distressing incident at Petco Park, where they were invited to sing the Star-Spangled Banner.
Their singing was replaced by a woman’s voice, and nobody stopped it. Soon, they were escorted off the field as antigay members of the crowd shouted homophobic slurs.
Here’s their statement:
What should have been a night of joy and celebration at Petco Park last night, instead turned into a nightmare raising serious questions about homophobia within the San Diego Padres organization and its relationship with the LGBT community.
Before the start of the last night’s San Diego Padres game, 100 volunteer singers of the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus took to the field to proudly sing the National Anthem. Instead, in front of the large crowd gathered for the LA Dodgers game, the San Diego Padres played the recorded voice of a woman singing the anthem.
No attempt was made to stop the recording and start over. No announcement of apology was made to the singers or their friends and families in the stands. No attempt to correct the situation occurred other than to force the 100 men to stand in the spotlight of center field for the song’s duration and then be escorted off the field to the heckles of baseball fans shouting homophobic taunts including “You sing like a girl.”
This incident followed several days of troubling comments and behavior within the San Diego Padres organization. Three days before the game, San Diego Padres representatives aggressively sought to prevent singers from performing the National Anthem unless they purchased a ticket to the game—even if they did not plan to stay for the game—which was not part of any previous discussion or written or verbal agreement and would have cost the small, community-based non-profit thousands of dollars. The demand eventually was rescinded on Friday following repeated complaints made by SDGMC and San Diego Pride to San Diego Padres management.