Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry Faces Backlash for Criticizing LSU Women’s Basketball Team Over National Anthem

Source: BroBible

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry unleashed an unwarranted attack on the LSU women’s basketball team not even 24 hours after the team’s Elite Eight loss to Iowa University on Monday. Many are comparing his comments to those made about Colin Kaepernick, with one MSNB contributor calling his comments ‘ridiculous.’ Here’s what went down!

LSU Not On Court During National Anthem

Emotions were already running high between the LSU Tigers and Iowa Hawkeyes on Monday (April 1), but the media added a little extra tension before tip-off when only one team – Iowa – was on the court during the national anthem. 

Source: Flickr/CCS Pictures

So, where was LSU? Head coach Kim Mulkey took her team into the locker room not long before the start of the game to prepare for what was their biggest game of the season. They apparently lost track of time. 

Head Coach Says It Wasn’t Intentional

The LSU Tigers ended up losing the game by seven points, but the media wasn’t about to let their national anthem debacle go. Instead, Mulkey was asked about the incident in her postgame press conference – and she set the record straight. 

Source: Flickr/CCS Pictures

“Honestly, I don’t even know when the anthem was played. We kind of have a routine when they’re on the floor and they come off at the 12-minute mark. I don’t know, we come in and we do our pregame stuff. I’m sorry, listen, that’s nothing intentionally done,” Mulkey said. 

LSU Spokesperson Clears Everything Up

According to a post on X by FOX8’s Sean Fazende, Cody Worsham, the Associate Athletic Director at LSU, echoed Mulkey’s sentiment the following day – arguing that the national anthem debacle is more of a routine than anything. 

Source: Flickr/CCS Pictures

“Our basketball programs have not been on the court for the anthem for the last several seasons. Usually the anthem is played 12 minutes before the game when the team is in the locker room doing final preparations,” Worsham said in his statement. 

Social Media Uses It As Political Ammo

It wasn’t the first time LSU was in the locker room during the national anthem, and it probably won’t be the last time, but don’t tell social media users that. Even though LSU did absolutely nothing wrong, the team was still vilified by the press for their ‘lack of patriotism.’ 

Source: Canva

It’s just another example of something that has nothing to do with politics being used as political ammo – all in hopes of striking a chord with voters. Meanwhile, those at the center of the controversy are being chewed out for something they didn’t necessarily do. 

Louisiana Governor Posts Ridiculous Tweet

On Tuesday (April 2), Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry took to his X account and posted his thoughts on the debacle. While he admitted to having the utmost respect for Coach Mulkey and the game of basketball, he has a ‘deeper respect for those that serve to protect us and unite us under one flag.’ 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“It is time that all college boards, including Regent, put a policy in place that student athletes be present for the national anthem or risk their athletic scholarship! This is a matter of respect that all collegiate coaches should instill,” he added – angering a lot of realists in the community.

LSU Faced Similar Situation In 2017

For LSU, they’ve been down this path before. In 2017, when athletes in all sports were kneeling during the national anthem, Louisiana legislators threatened LSU’s funding if football players decided to follow suit. 

Source: Flickr/Chris White

That threat was eventually withdrawn after then-LSU President F. King Alexander reminded lawmakers that the football team normally remains in the locker room during the anthem. 

Jimmy Clarke Sees Difficulties Enforcing Landry’s Policy

Landry’s call to revoke the scholarship of any player who isn’t present during the national anthem was immediately met with backlash – including from University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors Chair Jimmy Clarke. 

Source: Canva

“I see some difficulties in trying to enforce something like that,” Clarke said. While he understands why the Governor is stressing the importance of the national anthem, he believes the LSU women’s basketball team is being treated unfairly. 

Board Of Regents Doesn’t Play Role In Scholarships

Kim Hunter Reed, the state’s commissioner of higher education, was also vocal about her issue with the Governor’s stance on the national anthem and scholarships. Even if she wanted to do something about it, she said the Board of Regents doesn’t play a role in scholarships. 

Source: Canva

If a player were to be suspended or have their scholarship revoked, it would have to come from the team – not the Board of Regents. And since it was the team’s decision to not be on the court, it’s unlikely that punishments would be handed down to the team as a whole. 

MSNBC Likens It To Trans Day Of Visibility Debacle

In an article published by MSNBC on Wednesday (April 3), contributor Ja’han Jones likened the national anthem debacle to the chaos that unfolded when President Biden declared Marc 31 (Easter Sunday) as Trans Day of Visibility. 

Source: Pexels/Katie Rainbow

Jones pointed out how ridiculous it was to criticize LSU as if they were trying to send a message by staying in the locker room – even though it’s a part of their normal routine. It was a lot like all the people who got upset that Trans Day of Visibility fell on Easter Sunday – even though it was a totally random occurrence.

Accuses GOP Of Encouraging Outrage Among Voters

In his article, Jones accused Republicans of using controversies like the one that unfolded on Monday to create angst among voters—all in hopes of advancing their agenda and encouraging voters to demand change (even when it’s not necessary). 

Source: Canva

“Fueling these fact-free tantrums is how they make sure their voters stay good and angry —and motivated — so that they turn out, come election time, no matter how pitiful that anger may be. It’s a strategy as dubious as it is desperate,” Jones wrote in the column.

National Anthem Protests Are Common – And Have Been

Many people online were a little shocked to see the national anthem back in the spotlight – especially since national anthem protests are common, and have been for nearly eight years now. But Republicans don’t seem to care – they just want to stir the pot. 

Source: Canva

And that’s exactly what they tried to do this week, but it didn’t really work. While some people were angered by the incident, most people chalked it up to Republicans being Republicans – and not in a good way, either. 

Colin Kaepernick’s Protest That Started It All

National anthem protests have been a common occurrence since 2016 – when NFL QB Colin Kaepernick started kneeling (instead of standing) during the national anthem as a way of protesting the excessive use of police brutality against minorities, especially African Americans.

Source: Flickr/nflravens

It didn’t take long before athletes across all sports, leagues, and levels were doing the same – some choosing to kneel, while others chose to remove themselves completely. Then again, like LSU, sometimes it has nothing to do with politics or social issues. 

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Ryan Handson

Written by Ryan Handson

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