Sacramento Kings players heard their names called over the new sound system at the Golden 1 Center for the first time Monday night. With each player called, the crowd seemed to grow a little louder, until the final player, DeMarcus Cousins, rose from the bench and the roar from the crowd seemed to triple. The Kings hosted Maccabi Haifa, one of the top Israeli professional basketball teams, for their first game (exhibition or regular-season) inside Golden 1 Center on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee
Sacramento Kings players heard their names called over the new sound system at the Golden 1 Center for the first time Monday night. With each player called, the crowd seemed to grow a little louder, until the final player, DeMarcus Cousins, rose from the bench and the roar from the crowd seemed to triple. The Kings hosted Maccabi Haifa, one of the top Israeli professional basketball teams, for their first game (exhibition or regular-season) inside Golden 1 Center on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. Hector Amezcua The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Kings

National anthem singer said taking a knee at Kings game was patriotic

By Richard Chang

rchang@sacbee.com

October 11, 2016 07:36 AM

The national anthem singer at the Sacramento Kings preseason game on Monday drew criticism and praise on social media after she decided to kneel during the performance.

The action by singer Leah Tysse of Berkeley was an apparent protest against racial injustice, reminiscent of what San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been doing before NFL games. The Sacramento Kings went on to beat Maccabi Haifa of Israel 135-96 in an exhibition game – the first-ever basketball game at Golden 1 Center.

In a statement posted to her Facebook page Tuesday, Tysse called the gesture the “most patriotic thing I could do.”

“I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability,” she wrote. “The sad reality is, as a white American, I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families.”

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The singer declined an interview request.

The Sacramento Kings organization said it respected Tysse’s right “to exercise her freedom of speech.”

A team official said Tysse was chosen to sing by a partner organization. The Kings typically hold open casting calls to select singers for the national anthem.

NBA rules require players, coaches and trainers to stand during the national anthem. But the Kings staged their own form of protest by locking arms with players on the Los Angeles Lakers before a game at Honda Center earlier this month.

Leah Tysee, part of KFBK's 31 Survivors in 31 Days breast cancer series, kneels while singing National Anthem at @SacramentoKings game. pic.twitter.com/Xo0DmAUFIs

— HeatherPeterson KFBK (@heatherp_kfbk) October 11, 2016

The national anthem singer at the Sacramento Kings game took a knee for the final lines of the song.

— Carmichael Dave (@CarmichaelDave) October 11, 2016

Woman singing national anthem at @SacramentoKings games takes a knee while singing "Land of the free and the home of the brave." @kcranews pic.twitter.com/ddaUjZO521

— Dana Griffin (@KCRADana) October 11, 2016

@LeahTysse Much love and respect

— Ugbad (@_ugbad) October 11, 2016

First @SacramentoKings national anthem in @Golden1Center. #Kings pic.twitter.com/8fy4JBzWcy

— Jeffrey Dorso (@JeffreyDorso) October 11, 2016

@LeahTysse Much love and respect

— Ugbad (@_ugbad) October 11, 2016

Is there a dumber protest than protesting the National Anthem as you sing the National Anthem @SacramentoKings ? #sackings #NationalAnthem

— Life of Mikey (@Life_of_MikeyG) October 11, 2016

So @LeahTysse just took a knee after singing the national anthem for the @SacramentoKings. Salute to her!!!

— Sports Waves™ (@SportsWaves) October 11, 2016

I hope @SacramentoKings fire the last who actually sang and took a knee during the national anthem. I almost dropped my hat ...

— Anthony Ramacciotti (@Ramacciotti22) October 11, 2016

Anyone know who the woman is who kneeled WHILE singing the national anthem at the @SacramentoKings game? Cc @Golden1Center

— Chris Hagel (@MullingHagel) October 11, 2016

The Bee’s David Caraccio contributed to this report.

Richard Chang: 916-321-1018, @RichardYChang