Oklahoma City, OK (The B) – As the Thunder make its NBA bubble debut against the Utah Jazz this afternoon, an Oklahoma lawmaker is reminding players that actions can have consequences.
When you allow politics into a professional sports league, it’s only a matter of time before politicians get involved in those sports. After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right? Such is the case with the Thunder and State Representative Sean Roberts. Players across many of the professional sports have gone unabated taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice. This display has prompted Roberts to take a closer look and re-examine the organization’s tax benefits.
A Representative of Oklahoma’s 36th District since 2010, Roberts said that kneeling is an “anti-patriotic act” and shows “disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for,” in a statement on Friday. His full statement follows:
“By kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem, the NBA and its players are showing disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for. This anti-patriotic act makes clear the NBA’s support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ group and its goal of defunding our nation’s police, its ties to Marxism, and its efforts to destroy nuclear families.
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 re-examine 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.
Perhaps these funds would be better served in support of our police departments rather than giving tax breaks to an organization that supports defunding police and the dissolution of the American nuclear family.”
In regard to Roberts’ reference to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement having “ties to Marxism”, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors described herself and organizers as “trained Marxists” in an interview in 2015. Cullors told the Real News Network, “We are trained Marxists. We are super-versed on, sort of, ideological theories. I think that what we really tried to do is build a movement that could be utilized by many.”
Last night, Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only player to decline to take a knee before the game between Orlando and the Brooklyn Nets. Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard, along with San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and assistant Becky Hammon also declined to take a knee on Friday. The National Basketball Association already has a rule in its books requiring players to stand for the National Anthem, but NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has refused to enforce it.
Tip-off for the Utah Jazz – Oklahoma City Thunder game is slated for 2:30 p.m. CDT at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Arena in Orlando, Florida. The three Texas teams – the Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks – are off today and won’t play again until Sunday.