We bet little 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz’s family was so proud of him Tuesday night as he sang the National Anthem before game 3 of the NBA finals in San Antonio.
And then, unbelievable ugliness spewed forth on Twitter as he sang.
Racist, unbelievable ugliness such as these comments:
“What’s up with this little Mexican kid singin the anthem at the heat game?” Jack Wadden @wadden23.
“Who dat lil #Wetback sangin the national anthem at the #Heat game????” TJ THA DJ @Tj_THA_Dj.
“9 out of 10 chance that kid singing the national anthem is illegal.” Domenic DeGregorio @UncleD37.
“Is this the American National Anthem or the Mexican Hat Dance? Get this lil kid out of here.” Steven David @A1R_STEVEN.
“One of the Three Amigas child singing the National Anthem Julie! Lol” Silky Johnson @Roger4Mayor.
“You really had a Mexican sing the national anthem? Go to hell San Antonio.” Blake Jackson Warner @Uncle_Rico25.
But the real joke?
This Twitter hashtag: #GoHome.
To which we say: #TryAgain.
Because little Sebastien – hailed as “the boy with the golden voice” last year when he competed on “America’s Got Talent” – lives in San Antonio.
It’s not like he messed up the song, either. That's pretty amazing, considering that he was reportedly a last-minute replacement for former Hootie & the Blowfish front man Darius Rucker.
So what was it? The mariachi costume?
“The kid was fantastic,” Chase Hoffberger on DailyDot.com reported. “A few minutes before tipoff, he walked out onto the court in full mariachi get-up and sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with so much strength that you could fully believe in the American dream.
“The kid was dynamic. He was theatrical as it gets. He hit all the high notes. He stayed long on the low notes.”
Sebastien heard about the Twitter attacks. But the fifth-grader took a mature-beyond-his-age high road. On his own Twitter account, @selcharrodeoro, he wrote: “Please do not pay attention to the negative people. I am an American living the American Dream. This is part of the American life.”
San Antonio's mayor, Julian Castro, was one of hundreds of people who offered the boy words of support, writing on his Facebook page: "Don't let a few negative voices get you down. You are a true talent and you represent the best of our nation's future!”
In an interview today, Sebastien said that people don't know his life. "My father was actually in the Navy for a pretty long time, and I actually salute him today for that and I just wanna thank him," he said. “People don't know, they just assume that I'm just a Mexican. But I'm not from Mexico, I’m from San Antonio born and raised, true San Antonio Spurs fan.”
Sebastien told his mom not to cry about what people had said about him, but to save her tears for joy when he sings.
“I'd rather shed more happy tears than sad tears,” said Stacy De La Cruz. “But I will say this: As a mom, a parent, I'm going to be overprotective. I'm going to look over my shoulder, over their shoulder. We have four children. I'm going to be looking over all of them. (But as for those negative) words, it's always that saying, 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt.'”
Who wants to bet the Spurs (or lots of other teams) invite Sebastien to sing again?