Oklahoma lawmaker threatens NBA team’s tax benefits over players kneeling during national anthem

A Republican representative in the state of Oklahoma says he wants to examine tax credits given to the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball franchise if players choose to kneel during the national anthem.

In a statement released on Friday, state Rep. Sean Roberts questioned the “significant tax benefits” that the Thunder are scheduled to receive until 2024 through the Quality Jobs Act.

“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,” Roberts wrote. “Through the Quality Jobs Act, the Thunder is still under contract to receive these tax breaks from our state until 2024.”

Roberts accused the National Basketball Association of allowing players to take part in an “anti-patriotic act” before the games.

“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,” Roberts added. “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.”

The NBA restarted this week featuring a Black Lives Matter logo on the court, and almost every player has knelt as the anthem plays. Orlando Magic Forward Justin Isaac is the only player who has abstained from participating in the pregame kneeling this season inspired by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest in 2016 against racial injustice and police brutality.