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Volume 24 No. 117
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Louisiana Pols Want State Government To Pull Funding From Saints After Player Protest

Louisiana state Rep. Kenny Havard called for the state government to pull "funding, tax breaks and other support" from the Saints after several players protested during the national anthem Sunday, according to Julia O'Donoghue of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. Havard wrote in a statement, "Disrespecting our national anthem and flag in the name of social injustice is the highest form of hypocrisy." He added, "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." Louisiana state Rep. Valarie Hodges "has also requested the Saints' state benefits be reviewed by the Legislature's Senate and House budget committees as a result of the players' protest." O'Donoghue notes about $165M of the Saints' $1.5B value "can be attributed to public funding, tax breaks and incentives" given to Saints Owner Tom Benson each year. Ten players protested by sitting, and four others "stood in solidarity" near them, though they "didn't sit down themselves." The argument over "public subsidies for the team and Benson" is not a new one. A handful of legislators, "particularly those from north Louisiana who are farther from the Saints reach, have raised questions over the state's support of the team for several years" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/26).