Tenor causes stir by working 'All Lives Matter' statement into 'O Canada' at All-Star Game

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SAN DIEGO -- A member of a Canadian singing quartet changed a lyric in his country's national anthem and held up a sign proclaiming "All Lives Matter'' during a pregame performance at baseball's 87th All-Star Game on Tuesday.

The Tenors, a group based in British Columbia, caused a stir at Petco Park with Remigio Pereira's actions while singing "O Canada.''

In a statement of apology issued during the game, three of The Tenors pinned the changes solely on Pereira, who held up the sign and sang the altered lyrics, while the other three singers wordlessly harmonized. The three other members said Pereira won't perform with The Tenors "until further notice,'' calling his actions "disrespectful'' and "shameful.''

The change happened during the middle portion of the anthem, which is often sung in French at sporting events.

Pereira unexpectedly sang: "We're all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great.''

The normal lyric is: "With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.''

"United We Stand'' was written on the back of Pereira's sign.

Major League Baseball also had no idea Pereira intended to make a political statement, spokesman Matt Bourne said.

Although the audio wasn't crystal clear at the park, many fans reacted with surprise when they saw the sign on the ballpark video scoreboard. The Canadian anthem wasn't shown live on U.S. television, but it aired in Canada, where the Tenors' decision lit up social media with overwhelming criticism of the change.

The Tenors are Pereira, Clifton Murray, Fraser Walters and Victor Micallef. The Juno Award-winning group has recorded multiple platinum albums in Canada and performed around the world, including gigs at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies, the 2012 Queen's Jubilee in England and the 2014 Stanley Cup finals.

"All Lives Matter" has become a common online response in past months to the "Black Lives Matter" movement, particularly after the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

The motivations and ethnicities of the proponents of the "All Lives Matter" response vary, but it has received heavy criticism. The phrase is widely perceived to use reductive reasoning to trivialize the problems specifically facing blacks.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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