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Lawmaker urges state to cut funding for Saints after players' protest

5 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Monday, September 25 2017 Sep 25, 2017 September 25, 2017 6:11 PM September 25, 2017 in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Bess Casserleigh

ST. FRANICSVILLE -  Ten Saints players took a political stand by choosing to sit during the National Anthem before Sunday's game. 

Mostly because of choice words from President Trump:

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a b**** off our field right now he's fired?" the President said at a rally in Alabama last Friday.

Now, a state representative is making a demand in that same vein.

Republican lawmaker Kenny Havard from St. Francisville wants to withdraw all state funding for the Saints. 

"This is a state-funded sporting event--or subsidized sporting event, not fully by the state, but it is, so we have all the right to defund that," he said.  "I totally agree with their right to protest and I think it just needs to be done somewhere else. They can do it in the streets, the can do it on Sunday mornings... They can do it wherever they want, but not during our national anthem. I think it's disgraceful."

The issue is not only polarizing players, but also frustrating fans. 

"I think taking state funding away would definitely get the attention of the owners," Kurt Ducote said.

In fact, Saints owner Tom Benson stands to make almost $400 million from state subsidies through 2025. 

"I think it's foolish. I think it's in itself unconstitutional," Carl Jackson said.

However, no one disagreed more than the NAACP president for the state, Dr. Earnest Johnson.

"As long as it's not adversely affecting your fellow man or woman, then any individual should be allowed to express their concerns in the way they want to," Johnson said. 

Johnson says Havard is in violation of his oath by not upholding his resident's rights to free speech.

"I would say that by this representative's own words, he has violated his oath of office and I call for him to resign today."

The statement from Havard reads:

"The very reason they have the privilege and opportunity to play professional football while being paid millions is because someone in uniform died protecting their right to do so. It is a disgrace to the men and woman of this nation and state who have sacrificed so much. Disrespecting our national anthem and flag in the name of social injustice is the highest form of hypocrisy. Our free society made possible by our fighting men and women has made available free education, free lunch, housing and free healthcare and is now be considered socially unjust. It is time the taxpayers quit subsidizing protest on big boy playgrounds. I believe in the right to protest but, not at a taxpayer subsidized sporting event. Do it on your own time. There are plenty of disabled children, elderly and veterans in this state that would appreciate the money."

Another Representative from Louisiana, Ted James, later responded to Havard, saying he "can't wait" to get his hands on the proposal.

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