Kenny Havard (R) on Monday called for the state to end tax subsidies for the Saints NFL team because some players have refused to stand for the national anthem.
Neither the Saints nor the NBA Pelicans (also owned by Benson) pay rent to the state to use the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and Smoothie King Center, buildings built and operated by the state. "Disrespecting our national anthem and flag in the name of social injustice is the highest form of hypocrisy".
In his statement, Havard says he supports the right to protest, but not at "a taxpayer subsidized sporting event". "There are plenty of disabled children, elderly and veterans in this state that would appreciate the money".
Louisiana paid the Saints $85 million to renovate the Superdome in the most recent rebuild.
Not all of Havard's colleagues agree with his judgement, however, with fellow Louisiana Rep. Edward Ted James posting an Instagram photo after Havard's comments condemning the statements.
Havard said the players are welcome to exercise their right to protest, but the state doesn't have to pay for it. Quarterback Drew Brees stood during the anthem but criticized Trump's remarks. "DAMN, I wish we were in session now". To show respect for what it stands for - the birth of our nation.
He continued along this train of thought, emphasizing the importance of unity.
"I have a bunch of state workers in my district and they have been cut and cut and cut", said Havard.
"I imagine that most people in this state, the taxpayers that are going to work every morning and trying to, you know, buy their kids clothes and get them to school, know that we're giving millions of dollars to some billionaires", said Havard. Brees also said that his teammates didn't talk to him about their protest, and he'd like to have an open dialogue with them.