July 16, 2016 - 8:39 AM
TORONTO - The Tenors member Remigio Pereira officially apologized Friday for altering the lyrics to O Canada prior to this week's Major League Baseball all-star game.
While singing a solo verse of the anthem, he changed the lyrics "With glowing hearts we see thee rise, the True North strong and free," to "We're all brothers and sisters, all lives matter to the great."
He also held up a sign bearing the message "all lives matter" on one side and "united we stand" on the other, while standing alongside his fellow Tenors on the field.
In a video posted on his Facebook page, an emotional Pereira said he knows O Canada is revered and he wasn't intending to disrespect the anthem, the people of Canada, or "the people who have fallen for this country to be free."
Pereira also said those who were offended by his "all lives matter" message should know that he's not a racist.
"I have a biracial daughter, grew up in a multicultural environment where my best friend was black. I grew up with friends from Laos, from Asia — people from all over the world," he said.
"My intention was to bring unity and peace through loving one another. That has always been my message.
He also apologized directly to members of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"I stand with you for your voice. It deserves to be heard. You have been persecuted for many, many centuries, and I believe that nobody has a right above anyone else, no matter race or creed."
Social media lit up with widespread derision of Pereira's unanticipated move, while the other three Tenor members distanced themselves from him, saying in a statement that he acted as a "lone wolf."
Pereira said he "lost everything" from his actions — including the respect of his band. He said he hasn't spoken with fellow Tenors Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray and Fraser Walters in person since the incident.
"We've always sung about leading with our hearts and being under one sky, which are some of the anthems that we write expressing our love for humanity, for all people, and for sharing love with one another. That has always been my message and the message of the band.
"I'd like to apologize to Victor, Fraser and Clifton. I haven't spoken to them yet in person, but I want you to know that I am sorry for putting you in that situation."
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016