An 11-year-old boy’s rendition of the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA finals brought the usual appreciative applause Tuesday, but outside AT&T Center in San Antonio, his performance brought a darker reaction from some posters on social media — and eventually an online backlash against their racist comments.
Here’s a sampling of some of the unkind tweets that went flying around the Internet about Sebastien De La Cruz:
— “Why they got a Mexican kid singing the national anthem -___-” from Daniel Gilmore.
— “How you singing the national anthem looking like an illegal immigrant” from Andre Lacey, proud father and firefighter from Augusta, Georgia.
— “Why is a foreigner singing the national anthem. I realize that’s San Antonio but that still ain’t Mexico” from Lewie Groh.
— “Who let this illegal alien sing our national anthem?” from Matt Cyrus.
And the list went on and on.
As for Sebastien, he said the racist comments have not fazed him.
“For those that said something bad about me, I understand it’s your opinion,” said Sebastien to CNN. “I’m a proud American and live in a free country. It’s not hurting me. It’s just your opinion.”
Sebastien has been singing since he was 5 but gained fame in 2012 after being on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” for singing his mariachi ballads with hopes of winning to help his younger brother get surgery for his hearing problem.
Juan De La Cruz, Sebastien’s father, hasn’t taken the negative comments personally at all.
“When he was on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ he faced racism there, too. You can’t satisfy everyone,” said De La Cruz to CNN.
“I think people reacted the way they did because Sebastien was wearing his mariachi outfit,” said De La Cruz, “But, it doesn’t make sense to listen to those people when most of the feedback we have gotten is positive. San Antonio supports Sebastien.”