Sebastien De La CruzFans spend entire games commenting, tweeting, and communicating about what goes on during sporting events. Social media is great for sports (and advertisers) because it’s easy to connect with vast segments of people who like the same team or sport. Usually social media buzz, whether it’s good or bad, focuses on players or something that happens during a game, not on the person who sings the national anthem. This week Sebastien De La Cruz has attracted attention from social media users and not all of it has been good.

National Anthem Singer Hit by Racist Tweets

I’ll preface this by saying I’m no basketball fan. I appreciate the sport, but it was never for me. Regardless, sports like basketball are some of the biggest drivers of social media usage. This certainly proved itself true before the basketball game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat even started.

As John Aravosis writes on America Blog, “adorable 11 year old Mexican-American mariachi singer Sebastien De La Cruz, a San Antonio, Texas native, sang the national anthem,” on Tuesday night for the NBA finals game. His performance was excellent and he got a resounding round of applause.

Still, that didn’t stop racists and trolls from coming out of the woodwork to use Twitter and other social media platforms like Tumblr to start tweeting horrible comments about 11-year-old Sebastien. As Sam Laird writes on Mashable, Sebastien was bullied “with racist messages and bitterness over a child of Mexican descent singing America’s anthem.”

Once news about the racist tweets started reaching the majority of normal, considerate, and kind social media users, Sebastien received a great deal of support. The San Antonio Spurs did the right thing by inviting him back to sing again last night.

Before singing on Thursday night, he was introduced by San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro who “stressed how proud he was by his talent and composure over the past few days” as Cindy Y. Rodriguez reports on CNN. Lots of public shaming on Twitter and Tumblr led to the racists and bigots deleting their accounts or disappearing. The vast majority of users on social media won’t let racism or other similar responses stand.

A Positive Point for Social Media

I’ve always been impressed that cooler, more caring, and more mature minds almost always end up having the final say on social media like Twitter. Sebastien De La Cruz is just the latest example of people being brought together by social media and turning a negative into a positive. Sebastien has now been able to sing twice during two big NBA finals games and has made a name for himself, thanks in part to the people who attacked him and the majority who rallied behind him.

The best part to me about social media is that it gives businesses and agencies the ability to connect with consumers in more than a commercial way. I don’t consider it taking advantage of a situation for a business to tweet and share their opinion about something. A simple tweet in support of Sebastien or others who face the same sort of issues can humanize your brand, support someone who needs the support, and bring your followers’ attention to issues they might not think you as a business cared about.

After all, businesses are made up of people. It’s important to show customers and consumers that you care about things other than selling products and getting more customers, as that’s what many people assume companies care about. Social media is the best way to do that and it doesn’t take a huge effort to make a statement.

Does your business or agency tweet or post about events like what happened to Sebastien?