By Sen. Paul Scott
Due to a lack of a budget agreement, the legislature has rightfully decided to adjourn until an agreement has been made. By adjourning, we’ll continue holding committee meetings about the budget without incurring daily expenses.
Recent events and state issues are foremost on my mind; however, I also care about what’s happening nationally. I want to share my thoughts on the NFL kneeling situation. I simply wish to provide a peaceful alternative for individuals to share their beliefs without unnecessarily hurting others.
I believe in citizens’ right to freedom of speech and to protest. We see it frequently at the Capitol. While I may not agree with all the groups’ beliefs, it makes me proud as an American that they’re taking real action and sharing their thoughts with lawmakers and the public. However, they are never disrespectful to the American flag.
The way NFL players are protesting is causing further division. They want better trained law enforcement and to stop racial inequality - things we all want but dishonoring the U.S. flag is not the way. They’re simply insulting millions of military veterans and active service people and their families. The American flag flies because of our military. Disrespect the flag and you disrespect the brave people who have and continue to sacrifice life and limb for our country.
I read a letter from retired Marine Col. Jeffery Powers to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell describing how he felt about the situation. He said, “I missed the ’90-’91 season because I was with a battalion of Marines in Desert Storm. Fourteen of my wonderful Marines returned home with the American Flag draped across their lifeless bodies. My last conversation with one of them, Sgt Garrett Mongrella, was about how our Giants were going to the Super Bowl. He never got to see it.
Many friends, Marines, and Special Forces Soldiers who worked with or for me through the years returned home with the American Flag draped over their coffins. Now I watch multi-millionaire athletes…disrespect what brave Americans fought and died for. They are essentially spitting in the faces and on the graves of real men who have actually done something for this country beside playing with a ball and believing they’re something special!...
He emphasized that players get penalized for dancing in the end zone or disrespecting the refs but to do those things is their 1st Amendment right; but they face consequences. He asked why taunting wasn’t allowed on the field but they are allowed to taunt America. I agree whole-heartedly with this fine veteran.
Recently, members of the Thunder basketball team announced they’re deciding whether or not to kneel during the national anthem. A few colleagues and I are awaiting their decision because we plan to author legislation to stop any current or future state subsidies, payments or incentives to the team should they disrespect the flag and our country in this manner. Athletes have many ways to share their views and help bring about change off the court. We will not financially incentivize any further spreading of hatred and disrespect.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 521-5522. You can also write me at the state Capitol at Sen. Paul Scott, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd., Room 529A, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.