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Oklahoma City Thunder players kneel during the national anthem. Ashley Landis/Pool/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

  • Rep. Sean Roberts of Oklahoma suggested the state take away the tax breaks given to the Oklahoma City Thunder if players kneeled for the national anthem.
  • The Republican lawmaker compared Black Lives Matter to "Marxism," saying the movement wants to "destroy nuclear families.
  • The Thunder and Utah Jazz kneeled during the anthem, as teams have been doing in the NBA's "bubble" in Disney World.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

An Oklahoma lawmaker threatened to rescind the tax break for the Oklahoma City Thunder if players kneeled for the national anthem in the NBA's bubble.

In a statement, Rep. Sean Roberts criticized the gesture, comparing Black Lives Matter to "Marxism," according to Jeff Patterson of The Oklahoman. Roberts also said Black Lives Matter wants to "destroy nuclear families."

The statement was released prior to the Thunder-Utah Jazz game. Players kneeled during the anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality.

"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' statement read. "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."

Roberts said the tax break extends through 2024, saying the funds should instead go to police departments.

Here is video of the two teams kneeling during the anthem, via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune:

—Eric Walden (@tribjazz) August 1, 2020

Through three days of games, some have opted to stand for the anthem: Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and assistant coach Becky Hammon.

NBA players said that they wanted to make social justice reform a focal point during the resumption of the season. Players' jerseys have social justice messages, and many have used their media sessions to call for change.

  • Read more:
  • Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only player to stand during the national anthem and wore his own jersey instead of a 'Black Lives Matter' shirt
  • NHL fans are sharing pictures of themselves kneeling in support of Black Lives Matter after players stood for the anthem
  • Zion Williamson was glued to the bench as the Pelicans lost a crucial game in the bubble because he wasn't allowed to play any more minutes
  • All of the changes and details you might have missed that show how different NBA games are in the bubble

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Ex-State Lawmaker Ordered to Begin House-Arrest Sentence

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A former Pennsylvania state representative has been ordered to begin serving the house-arrest portion of her sentence in the theft of money from a nonprofit she established for the needy.

A judge said during a hearing Wednesday that probation officials weren’t able to set up house arrest for 54-year-old Movita Johnson-Harrell when she was released from jail in April because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Johnson-Harrell told the judge that she contracted COVID-19 in jail and recovered while self-quarantining at home.

Johnson-Harrell, a Democrat who represented part of west Philadelphia, was accused of taking money from the nonprofit and spending it on vacations, clothing and other personal needs. She pleaded guilty to felony theft and perjury and no contest to misdemeanor charges related to campaign and state financial reports.

She served two months in jail and was ordered to spend 8 1/2 months on house arrest and repay the nonprofit.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags: Pennsylvania

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