La. lawmaker wants to cut state subsidies for Saints amid #TakeAKnee controversy

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 09: The NFL shield logo on the goal post pad at Louisiana Superdome on September 9, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. —  A Louisiana lawmaker is calling for the state to cut funding, tax credits and tax exemptions for the New Orleans Saints after 10 players joined hundreds of other NFL players in taking a knee for the national anthem Sunday.

State Rep. Kenny Havard, R-St. Francisville, released a statement noting that “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,” he continued. “Disrespecting our national anthem and flag in the name of social injustice is the highest form of hypocrisy. It is time the taxpayers quit subsidizing protest on big boy playgrounds.”

State Rep. Kenneth Havard, photo courtesy Louisiana House website

Havard, who made headlines in 2016 for proposing age and weight limits for strippers in Louisiana, was responding to the 10  Saints players who joined NFL players across the country in not standing for the national anthem before the start of Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

The protest comes after the Saints and Pelicans organizations released a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s comments about the NFL and players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” Trump tweeted early Sunday.

The tweet came the morning after Trump took on two of the country’s most popular sports leagues by withdrawing the White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and by calling for NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag.”

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton backed his players and said “we need a little bit more wisdom” from the office of the president.

 

“That’s being a little blunt, but that’s how I feel,” he said. “You know, I want that guy to be one of the smarter guys in the room. And it seems like every time he’s opening his mouth, it’s something that is dividing our country and not pulling us together.”