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Oklahoma lawmaker threatens OKC Thunder with tax penalties if players kneel during national anthem

An Oklahoma lawmaker threatened to pull tax benefits for the Oklahoma City Thunder if players were to kneel during the national anthem before Saturday's game.

Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) posted a statement Friday afternoon making the threat and equating the Black Lives Matter movement to "Marxism" and trying to "destroy nuclear families."

The Thunder and Utah Jazz knelt during the anthem before their 2:30 p.m. tip-off Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in first NBA seeding game since the regular season was suspended on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Thunder did not respond to The Oklahoman's request for a response as of Saturday afternoon. In a 2018 story, The Oklahoman reported that each home game translates to $1.5 million in economic impact for OKC.

Rep. Roberts full statement:

“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 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 the dissolution of the American nuclear family.”

Related Photos
July 31, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA;  Players, coaches and staff kneel during the national anthem before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

July 31, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Players, coaches and staff kneel during the national anthem before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Mike...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-af7296ece92fb55712adad7f3e737671.jpg" alt="Photo - July 31, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Players, coaches and staff kneel during the national anthem before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports" title="July 31, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Players, coaches and staff kneel during the national anthem before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports"><figcaption>July 31, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, USA; Players, coaches and staff kneel during the national anthem before the game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks at The Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on July 31, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports</figcaption></figure>
Jeff Patterson

Jeff Patterson is the sports editor of The Oklahoman. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, he allegedly once told his father on a childhood trip passing through Oklahoma that he would one day live there. He doesn't recall this, but he fulfilled that... Read more ›

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