Aaron Lewis, a singer and self-proclaimed patriot who once ripped Christina Aguilera to shreds after she botched the national anthem at the Super Bowl, had a great opportunity Sunday night.
Lewis got to perform the anthem before Game 5 of the World Series, putting his own touch on the song and perhaps brining some visibility to his fledgling country music career a decade after he first made a name for himself as the lead singer of the band Staind.
What happened next was disastrous.
Lewis badly flubbed the beginning of the song, skipping a verse and leading to players on the field visibly cringing and — in Tim Lincecum’s case, laughing — as Lewis tried to get back on track.
Predictably, the reaction on Twitter and elsewhere was harsh, prompting Lewis to apologize on Facebook.
Here’s a sampling of the reaction:
And here’s the text of Lewis’ apology, in which he expressed deep regret and essentially begs people not to consider him a traitor:
All I can say is I’m sorry and ask for the Nation’s forgiveness. My nerves got the best of me and I am completely torn up about what happened. America is the greatest country in the world. The Star-Spangled Banner means so much to so many, including myself. I hope everyone can understand the intensity of the situation and my true intent of this performance. I hope that the Nation, Major League Baseball and the many fans of our national pastime can forgive me.
Lewis’ failure was particularly striking given that he went out of his way to rip Aguilera for messing up the anthem at the Super Bowl in 2011, telling a cheering crowd “I don’t understand how people that sing the national anthem can be so f***ing self-absorbed that they would try to change that f***ing song.”
Here’s the clip: