An Oklahoma state lawmaker threatened the Oklahoma City Thunder with tax penalties if the players knelt during the national anthem prior to their game Saturday.
State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, said in a statement Friday that by kneeling the NBA was supporting Black Lives Matter and the goal of defunding the police and “its efforts to destroy nuclear families.”
“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,” Roberts said, according to The Oklahoman.
“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.
“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 his dissolution of the American nuclear family.”
Thunder players knelt anyway in the face of the threat.
“Oh man, it was special to be able to do that together as a team and to do it right down in front of Black Lives Matter as players,” Thunder star Chris Paul said after the game. “We had a lot of conversations about coming down here and the bigger reason of what we were playing for so to do it as a united front was nice.”
Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City, Mo.., tweeted that the Thunder could always come and play in his city.
Oklahoma City defeated the Utah Jazz, 110-94.