Louisiana state Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs, has formally requested that a legislative hearing be held to review the incentives the state gives the New Orleans Saints after several players participated in a protest during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
State Rep. Kenny Havard, a St. Francisville Republican, said Monday that he thinks the state should outright nix the lucrative perks that it gives the Saints to keep the NFL franchise in New Orleans.
Louisiana agreed in 2009 to cover $85 million in upgrades to the Superdome and enter into an ongoing lease of office space from Saints owner Tom Benson as part of a larger deal that runs through 2025. Under a previous agreement that expired in 2010, the team received $23.5 million in yearly cash incentives from the state with few strings attached.
"We're renting the Benson tower space as a way to subsidize them – it's above the appraised value," Havard said in an interview Monday. "Most of the people who've called me didn't know that the Saints were getting money from the state."
The National Football League has little to do with justice or equality or whatever sentimen…
NFL players across the country have been taking part in "take a knee" protests against racism as the "Star Spangled Banner" is played before games this season, prompting Trump, during a rally Friday in Alabama, to call for team owners to fire any "son of a bitch" who "disrespects our flag." He also urged fans to "leave the stadium" if they see players engage in such protests.
That set off a larger league-wide protest that bubbled over and hit home on Sunday.
Ten Saints players sat on the bench during the national anthem, and four others stood near the group in a show of support before the team's win at Carolina.
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Staff writer Elizabeth Crisp contributed to this report.