Gov. Edwards believes Saints should follow Cowboys’ example in protests during national anthem

Gov. Edwards believes Saints should follow Cowboys’ example in protests during national anthem

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards said he believes the New Orleans Saints should follow the Dallas Cowboys in in the way players protest during the national anthem.

Earlier Wednesday, the governor briefly spoke on former Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand’s radio show, in which he said the national anthem and American flag “should unite all of us, despite our differences.

Edwards, speaking today after a luncheon in Baton Rouge, expanded on his previous statement saying,

"I personally don't believe it's the right thing to do. To kneel during the National Anthem. I mean I served in uniform, I think that we ought to render the appropriate respect to the National Anthem. And I think that there are other, more effective ways to protest."
"The Dallas Cowboys went onto the field, took a knee, demonstrated their unity and their concern to actually give expression to their concerns, but when the National Anthem was played, they stood up. And so you don't have to kneel during the national anthem to get the attention that you're trying to get. If the Saints could move in that direction, I think everyone would be benefitted from it."

On Tuesday, several of Louisiana's elected officials expressed outrage at the Saints including Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser announcing he would boycott the team's game in London on Sunday.  Rep. Kenneth Havard made a call to strip the Saints' access to state money. Attorney General Jeff Landry seconded the idea saying, "Havard has sparked a great conversation. Why should the taxpayers subsidize with hundreds of millions of dollars a $2 billion organization that allows the blatant disregard for our flag and our anthem?"

Edwards said Wednesday the state no longer gives money to the Saints directly from its treasury. But the state still subsidizes some parts of the team's operations like stadium concession sales and Benson Tower.

The governor said he believes the state should honor its contractual obligations to the Saints because if the state were to do so to thwart protests during the national anthem it would be violating the players first amendment right to free speech.

Edwards told reporters he has not spoken to Saints owner Tom Benson about the matter has spoken to members of the organization but declined to divulge further information on the matter.

Ten Saints players were among the 150 NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem Sunday.


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