Watch CBS News

Singer's National Anthem Kneel At Kings Game Called A Distraction

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A singer from Berkeley took a knee while singing the national anthem at the Kings' preseason game at Golden 1 Center.

Many people are outraged.

"It was an amazing night," Sonia Susac said. "And to have today be about a political statement is infuriating to me."

Sonia Susac is stunned.

"She took something away from us that night," Susac said.

Susac was in the group of Albie Aware Breast Cancer survivors for a "Pink in the Paint" event at the Golden 1 Center with national anthem singer Leah Tysse, a one-year survivor, when Tysse finished singing the anthem by dropping to one knee.

"And I just didn't want to believe it, but I was watching it with my own eye," Susac said.

Susac calls Tysse's decision a distraction, taking focus off a sisterhood of breast cancer survivors.

"And it was supposed to be about healing, awareness, and promoting the cause, and promoting helping women," Susac said. "And instead we were talking about something completely different today."

Tysse explained her decision on Facebook, with a post reading in part:

"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."

Kneeling during the national anthem has become a symbol of protest against racial injustice. Kings players locked arms during the length of the anthem in a show of solidarity.

The Kings organization issued a statement reading: "We respect the personal decision of Leah Tysse to exercise her freedom of speech."

For Susac, Tysse's kneel turned breast cancer survivors at the Golden 1 Center into a sidenote.

"I had no idea she was going to do that, no idea," Susac said. "And she's gifted with a beautiful voice, but she should stick to singing."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.