It happened Sunday, before a game between the High Point Rockers and Sugar Land Skeeters and involved a “last minute fill in,” Fox Carolina reported. High Point is about 80 miles northeast of Charlotte.
“I don’t even know who this guy is, but he should never sing anything ever again,” said national sports columnist Terez Owens, who posted a video of the singing.
The sports and pop culture blog Barstool Sports called it “quite possibly the worst rendition of the national anthem of all time,” in a tweet that also included video. It has been viewed viewed nearly 165,000 times.
Video posted on Facebook by TV station WXII reports Rockers employee Chuck Hayworth was the singer, and it shows him struggling with both the melody and the lyrics. The results include uncomfortable pauses, skipped lines and occasional shouting.
Hayworth apologized later on social media, explaining he developed cramps from getting overheated just before starting “and you saw what happened,” the station reported.
“By no means was this any disrespect to our country or our organization, nor all those who serve it,” WFMY quoted Hayworth as saying.
The team apologized, too, saying “the rendition was not up to organizational standards,” and noting the singer was standing in for someone who got sick at the last minute, GreensboroSports.com reports.
Team officials added that “numerous voice coaches have reached out to the performer and the organization offering their services to help redeem the last-minute performer,” GreensboroSports said.
As a result, Rockers officials issued a statement saying they “will strongly consider having the performer back in the 2019 season” — after he has had singing lessons, Spectrum News quoted the team as saying.
It is far from the first time someone has botched what is supposed to be the nation’s best known song, with Billboard Magazine even going so far as to make a “10 Worst National Anthem Performances Ever” list in 2018. The list includes actress Roseanne Barr and pop singers Fergie and Michael Bolton.