Okla. state rep warns Thunder players against anthem protests

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An Oklahoma state representative isn’t playing around when it comes to the national anthem.

Republican state representative Sean Roberts issued a statement on Friday warning Oklahoma City Thunder players against kneeling during the national anthem and even threatened to reevaluate the team’s tax benefits if players kneel, according to Hicham Raache of Oklahoma News.

Roberts states that kneeling during the national anthem is an “anti-patriotic act” that shows “disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for.” He also claims that Black Lives Matter is tied to Marxism and is trying to destroy traditional families. Quite clearly, he’s misinformed on the entire movement. Roberts said in the statement:

“If the Oklahoma City Thunder leadership and players follow the current trend of the NBA by kneeling during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s game, perhaps we need to reexamine the significant tax benefits the State of Oklahoma granted the Oklahoma City Thunder organization when they came to Oklahoma. Through the Quality Jobs Act, the Thunder is still under contract to receive these tax breaks from our state until 2024.”

The 2019-20 NBA season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, and players negotiated for an amplified voice regarding social justice issues as a condition to return to the court. The season officially resumed on Thursday, and teams have been kneeling together during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. 

All courts in Orlando have “Black Lives Matter” painted on them, and players are allowed to wear the names of various social justice causes on their jerseys. Some jerseys say things such a “Black Lives Matter,” “Freedom,” and “Love Us.”

Kneeling during the national anthem began when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began doing so to protest racial inequality in 2016, and many people took it out of context, thinking he was disrespecting the military and the flag of the United States.

As Kaepernick’s movement swept the NFL by storm, resulting in many players taking a knee, he was eventually ousted by the league that same year as no one wanted to sign him for the 2017 campaign. Although he’s far more talented than many quarterbacks currently under contract in the NFL, the 32-year-old hasn’t been able to land a gig despite recently holding a workout.