The singer slated to sing the national anthem before the 76ers' home opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night is claiming she was pulled minutes before taking the court because of her attire.
Singer Sevyn Streeter was wearing a black jersey with "We Matter" printed across the chest.
The Sixers issued a statement on the matter without specifying why Streeter did not sing.
"The Philadelphia 76ers organization encourages meaningful actions to drive social change. We use our games to bring people together, to build trust and to strengthen our communities. As we move from symbolic gestures to action, we will continue to leverage our platform to positively impact our community."
A member of the Sixers' dance team sang the anthem in Seveyn Streeter's stead.
"I'd say two minutes before we were about to walk out ... the organization told me that I could not wear my shirt while singing the national anthem at their game," the R&B singer said by phone. "I was never given any kind of dress code. I was never asked beforehand to show my wardrobe."
A representative from the 76ers alerted the team to controversy this morning that, according to reserve guard Nik Stauskas, lasted about 45 minutes.
Staukas said that he was disappointed that Streeter wasn't given the opportunity to sing, but understood the organization's decision. "It's not about saying something. It's about making a difference. It's about going out there and doing something," Staukas said. "We don't really know what we are going to do yet. But I know a lot of guys on this team are eager to go out there and make a difference one way or another."
When asked if he wanted to see amends made toward Streeter, head coach Brett Brown responded, "I think all that is on the table. I think how we handle it as a group is going to be thoroughly discussed. We understand the situation and we respect the social issue involved. We completely get it and as a group, we will try to find a way to deal with it."
That idea of action was shared with Sixers guard Gerald Henderson. "We talked about it. I don't know if we came up with anything just right at the moment. But you know, it's something that's going to happen. People are going to have things to say, want to make statements," Henderson said. "We see that there's a lot of thing going on in the world right, well in our country. We will come together as a team and think about some things that we will be able to do."
Neither Streeter, nor her representatives, could be reached for comment Thursday.
Despite a TMZ report to the contrary, some players did not seem particularly outraged by the team's actions.
Streeter has written songs for Chris Brown, Ariana Grande and other stars. In 2013, she had a Top 40 hit with "It Won't Stop," a duet with Brown that reached RIAA gold status, the AP reported.
This isn't the first time the Sixers were brought into a national anthem controversy. A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami did so while kneeling at midcourt.
Denasia Lawrence opened her jacket just before she started to sing, revealing a "Black Lives Matter" shirt, then dropped to her left knee and performed the song. She said it was her way of protesting racial oppression.