Dig Baton Rouge

Saints take a knee, lawmaker threatens to take tax money

A Louisiana lawmaker threatened to start work on pulling state tax money given to the Saints after several players took a knee during the National Anthem this weekend to protest violence and oppression against black Americans.

State representative Kenneth Havard said in a weekend statement that it was time to end tax exemptions, tax credits and other state money which went to the Saints.

“I believe in the right to protest but, not at a taxpayer subsidized sporting event,” Havard said. “Do it on your own time.”

Other Saints fans posted images of thrown away or burnt memorabilia after the protests.

The “take a knee” protests started with then-San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepaernick, and has since spread to include other athletes, professional or otherwise. At a Friday political rally President Donald Trump railed against the protests, and on Saturday called on NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt or sat during the anthem.

NFL owners stood behind their athletes this weekend and criticized the president’s remarks. The NFL Players Association also posted support for the athletes’ right to protest.

Havard previously ran into trouble for his comments on a 2016 state bill meant to combat human trafficking by requiring strip clubs hire dancers at least 21 years of age. Havard said strippers should be in their 20s and no more than 160 pounds, comments he later said were meant to be a joke about government overregulation.

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