Louisiana State Rep. Kenny Havard wants to cut state funding to the NFL’s Saints over anthem protests

Louisiana State Rep. Kenny Havard expressed his desire to cut millions in state tax dollars, exemptions and credits allocated to the New Orleans Saints, the NFL and associated groups, the Advocate reported.

His Monday announcement came one day after a group of Saints players protested the national anthem before their Sunday game against the Panthers.

“The very reason (the Saints) 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 women of this nation and state who have sacrificed so much.” —Rep. Kenny Havard

Havard (R-St. Francisville) didn’t specify the amount of state money that would be taken away from the Saints. But if his announcement were to follow through, it would affect team members, coaches and owners. According to a 2015 Forbes report, Saints owner Tom Benson — who also owns the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans — was “set to rake in an estimated $392 million from state subsidies through 2025.”

The same report also said that, during the Mercedes-Benz Superdome lease, “the state will pay Benson at least $198 million in increased revenue from the Superdome, $142 million in rental payments on property Benson owns, $10 million in bonuses for bringing the Super Bowl to New Orleans and $2.6 million in tax breaks. Benson will get another $40 million from private rent payments to a tower he bought as part of the deal.”

“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,” Havard said. “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.”

More than 200 National Football League players protested on Sunday following President Trump’s comments and tweets suggesting that players who protest the anthem should be fired.

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