CMAs Respond to Backlash Over Charley Pride’s COVID-19-Related Death One Month After CMA Awards

Maren Morris raised the possibility of a correlation to the indoor event in a since-deleted tweet after the 86 year old performed at the awards show on Nov. 11 and reportedly fell ill later that month. As the country music world continues to mourn the passing of the groundbreaking artist […]

Maren Morris raised the possibility of a correlation to the indoor event in a since-deleted tweet after the 86 year old performed at the awards show on Nov. 11 and reportedly fell ill later that month.

As the country music world continues to mourn the passing of the groundbreaking artist Charley Pride at 86 years old, the Country Music Association is trying to quell a growing backlash regarding his appearance at the CMA Awards.

According to the legendary singer’s Facebook page, he went into the hospital “in late November with Covid-19 type symptoms.” The first Black country music superstar attended and performed at the CMAs on November 11.

In a since deleted post, Maren Morris, who also performed at the event, posed a question while praising Pride’s legacy. And she wasn’t the only one, with Brandi Carlile and Mickey Guyton suggesting they’d had similar thoughts.

“I don’t want to jump to conclusions because no family statement has been made, but if this was a result of the CMAs being indoors, we should all be outraged. Rest in power, Charley,” Morris wrote, as noted by Access.

In response, representatives for both Pride and the Country Music Association have denied any association between his appearance and contracting the virus.

“Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city health department and unions,” they said in a joint statement. “Charley was tested prior to traveling to Nashville. He was tested upon landing in Nashville, and again on show day, with all tests coming back negative.”

Rascal Flatts’ Jenee Fleenor and Lee Brice both tested positive and had to withdraw from performing, as did Lady A after a family member was diagnosed, which would certainly seem to support their seriousness in ensuring eveyrone’s safety.

“After returning to Texas following the CMA Awards, Charley again tested negative multiple times,” the statement continued. “All of us in the Country Music community are heartbroken by Charley’s passing. Out of respect for his family during their grieving period, we will not be commenting on this further.”

The CMAs had previously detailed their stringent standards for safety amid the ongoing pandemic, including tables spaced eight feet apart with a limit of four people per table. They also required masks any time someone left their table and had rigorous and repeated testing for all artists and their teams.

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