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Trump threatens to ban TikTok from operating in the U.S. At least 150 hospitalized due to salmonella outbreak in 48 states Oklahoma lawmaker threatens tax penalties for Thunder if players kneel during anthem

An Oklahoma lawmaker is mad about NBA players kneeling for social justice.

He’s attempting to use his leverage as a state representative to pressure Thunder players to his will.

Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Hominy) issued a warning to the Thunder on Friday threatening to pull tax breaks for the team if players kneel during the national anthem while citing conspiracy theories about “Marxism.”

The Thunder make their NBA bubble debut on Saturday against the Utah Jazz. Since bubble play started Thursday, players have largely knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

Roberts floats ‘significant tax benefits’

“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 in a statement.

Oklahoma News 4 reached out to the Thunder for a response to Roberts’ threat. As of Friday evening, the Thunder had not responded.

© Provided by Yahoo! Sports Chris Paul helped negotiate social justice messaging in the NBA bubble. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) Will Thunder players kneel?

Thunder guard Chris Paul is the president of the National Basketball Players Association. He helped negotiate a deal with the NBA to allow players to wear social justice messaging on their uniforms during bubble play.

It seems a long shot that Paul or any other Thunder players won’t take a knee. Through Friday evening, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only player to decline to take a knee in the bubble. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and assistant Becky Hammon also declined to take a knee on Friday.

Players have made a point to use their platforms to explain that as Black men, they fear for their lives and safety in the United States because of their skin color. Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell carried a bulletproof vest emblazoned with a list of victims of police brutality to his news conference Thursday night to make his point.

The NBA has a rule on its books requiring players to stand for the anthem. Commissioner Adam Silver vowed on Thursday not to enforce it “under these unique circumstances.”

Roberts: Kneeling will destroy families

Roberts believes the demonstration intends to destroy nuclear families.

“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 wrote. “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.”

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LeBron James on Trump not watching NBA: You trying to make me laugh?

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

NBA superstar LeBron James said that the NBA community does not care if President Donald Trump watches their games or not. 

“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership,” James said. “The game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball, we could [not] care less.”

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“Our game is in a beautiful position, and we have fans all over the world. Our fans not only the way we play the game and we try to give it back to them with our commitment to the game,” he said. 

Lakers’ LeBron James on President Trump saying kneeling NBA players are a “disgrace”: “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership. … November is right around the corner and it’s a big moment for us as Americans.” pic.twitter.com/m8G3KQAWsd

— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 6, 2020

James said that he believes that fans also admire the way that NBA players acknowledge “what’s right and what’s wrong.”

“I hope everyone, no matter what race, no matter what color, no matter what size, see what kind of leadership we have at the top of our country. November is right around the corner, and it’s a big moment for us as Americans.”

“If we continue to talk about… we want better, we want change, we have an opportunity to do that. But, the game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us who love the game of basketball we could (not) care less.”

LeBron James and Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers in a Black Lives Matter Shirt kneel with their teammates during the national anthem prior to the game against the LA Clippers.
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Most NBA players have locked arms and kneeled during the National Anthem before every game this season which during the coronavirus pandemic is being held in a “bubble” in Orlando, Florida. 

The players have been joined by coaches and referees as well. 

In a FOX News interview Wednesday morning, Trump specifically addressed the protests. 

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“I think it’s disgraceful,” the president said, “We worked with them. We worked very hard trying to get them open. I was pushing them to get open, then I see everyone kneeling during the anthem. It’s not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game. Let me tell you, there are plenty of other people out there [tuning out] too. … The ratings for the basketball are way down.”

President Trump calls NBA players "disgraceful" for kneeling during anthem, implies that hes done more for the black community than Abraham Lincoln pic.twitter.com/C5YJW3pAps

— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 5, 2020

“We have to stand up for our flag. We have to stand up for our country. We have to stand up for our anthem. A lot of people agree with me. Hey, if I’m wrong, I’m going to lose an election. That’s okay with me. I’ll always stand for our country and our flag.”

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