SLIDELL, La. – The Krewe of Poseidon has rescinded its invitation to two New Orleans Saints players who participated in league-wide protests in defiance of President Trump.
Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor were among the 10 Saints who remained seated during the National Anthem before the Saints took on the Carolina Panthers on September 24.
In response, the Slidell-based Mardi Gras Krewe announced that the pair would no longer serve as grand marshals when the parade rolls in 2018.
Krewe officials said in a statement that the decision to uninvite Vaccaro and Okafor was not an easy one to make.
Here’s the Krewe of Poseidon’s full statement:
“Our Krewe was forced to make a tough decision based on an issue which is dividing our community. As a non-profit organization we will not engage in political or controversial issues. Our parade provides an opportunity to unite people from various diverse economic, social, and cultural backgrounds. It’s likely one of the most evidenced displays of ‘community’ in our city and we certainly don’t want to jeopardize this or alienate any spectators by agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s viewpoint or perspective.
Although we fully respect everyone’s opinion and believe in an individual’s right to freedom of speech and expression, our role as a carnival organization is solely to provide entertainment to our spectators. We believe there is more that unites than separates us and Mardi Gras has and should remain a time when everyone can forget about all issues and enjoy a day of revelry.
It’s an unfortunate decision but one we believed was in the best interest of all.
Regarding replacements…we must now determine a path forward. We are committed to being unbiased and impartial therefore hope to identify someone who will be welcomed by all.”