The Country Music Association and representatives from the CMA’s annual awards ceremony came under fire on Saturday after country legend Charley Pride died of complications from COVID-19 – just weeks after receiving an award for the ensemble of her career at the CMA Awards in person in Nashville and performed a number with singer Jimmie Allen.
As outcry grew that the show may have led to Pride being infected, the association released a statement distancing itself from its tragic death at 86 years old.
“Everyone affiliated with the CMA Awards followed strict testing protocols outlined by the city’s health department and unions,” the group said. noted. “Charley was tested before going to Nashville. He was tested on landing in Nashville, and again on the day of the show, all tests coming back negative. After returning to Texas after the CMA Awards, Charley tested negative several times again. All of us in the Country Music community are heartbroken over Charley’s passing. Out of respect for his family during their time of mourning, we will not comment on this further. “
The statement comes in response to online criticism from those who linked his death to the event taking place inside the Music City Center in Nashville. Several acts that were scheduled to occur at the event were forced to drop out without notice after testing positive for COVID-19, including members of Lady A, Rascal Flatts and Florida Georgia Line.
Shortly after the news of Pride’s death was announced, a number of prominent country singers questioned the awards ceremony and its potential role in Pride’s death.
“I don’t want to jump to conclusions because no family statement was made, but if that was because the CMAs were inside, we should all be outraged. Rest in power, Charley, ” wrote singer Marren Morris, who also attended the event and won the female singer of the year and song of the year awards. She later added: “F — this year f — ing.”
Country singer Mickey Guyton replied to Morris’ tweet, saying, “Gurl, I thought the same fucking thing.”