Gov. Edwards issues statement on Saints, NFL protests during national anthem

Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’s talked to New Orleans Saints officials about several players’ refusal to stand during the national anthem.

State Rep. Valerie Hodges sent a formal request to have the team’s package of state funding discussed at the next joint committee on the budget. Francisville, said in a statement after Sunday’s Saints game against the Carolina Panthers that Louisiana should cut all state funding, tax breaks and other incentives for the team and other NFL-associated programs.

The Advocate reports that James has been outspoken about his concerns of police brutality in his community.

According to the Advocate, Havard proposed that millions should be cut from the New Orleans Saints and other National Football League teams. He said any player who was protesting is a “son of a b–” during a political rally on national television.

“The National Anthem and the American flag are symbols of freedom and should unite all of us, despite our differences”, Edwards said. We recognize that our fellow citizens have a First Amendment right to express these sentiments. I would hope that, as a nation, individuals on both sides of this issue can come together and work to do better.

Edwards, a former Army Ranger, acknowledged that people have a right to protest, but he encouraged people to be on their feet for the anthem. “We will participate in all the discussions to make the people of Louisiana – the Legislature – know what all those obligations are”.

Edwards, a Democrat, had not weighed in on the simmering controversy until Wednesday when he appeared on Newell Normand’s show on WWL radio. The team’s players knelt arm-in-arm before the anthem, then rose for the playing of the anthem.

He pointed to the demonstration from the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, when players and staff including owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett all kneeled before the “Star Spangled Banner” was played but stood for the song itself.

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