Augusta firefighter's tweet draws national attention, controversy

Sebastien De La Cruz returned Thursday to sing the national anthem before Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

An Augusta firefighter’s tweet questioning the citizenship of an 11-year-old singing the national anthem at Game 3 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio on Tuesday gained national attention – and controversy – after it was picked up by news Web sites and blogs.


“How you signing the anthem lookin like an illegal immigrant,” tweeted Andre Lacey, who appeared to have since deleted his twitter account, @AndreLacey.

An Augusta firefighter since 2007, Lacey wasn’t working at Fire Engine Co. 5 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard mid-Thursday and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Fire Chief Chris James said the department was aware of the tweet and taking a look at its options.

“I don’t think he was on duty,” James said. “If he was at home, as despicable as that comment that he made is … I don’t think the actual tweet itself had anything to do with the fire department.”

Regardless, the firefighter “will be counseled for sure,” James said. “What he said by no means is reflective of our attitude. It’s completely inappropriate and not acceptable.”

The department continues to attempt to address social media issues as they arise but has no official policy.

James said some firefighters have voluntarily deleted their Facebook accounts after unrelated conversations have grown heated.


SAN ANTONIO — An 11-year-old Latino boy whose singing of the national anthem at the NBA Finals set off a barrage of racist tweets, including one from an Augusta firefighter, earned a roaring ovation in an encore performance Thursday night.

Sebastien De La Cruz, a mariachi singer, was congratulated by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra at midcourt afterward.

His second act followed an outpouring of support after disparaging tweets about Latinos during his nationally televised performance before Game 3 this week.

Other celebrities and politicians are also rallying behind De La Cruz. They include San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and actress Eva Longoria, formerly married to Spurs star Tony Parker.