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Saints face criticism from two State officials over NFL protests during National Anthem

Saints players protest statements made by President Donald Trump on Sunday. (Source: Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune) Saints players protest statements made by President Donald Trump on Sunday. (Source: Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Outrage grows over NFL players protesting during the National Anthem. Now, the Saints face sharp criticism from two state officials. 

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser plans to boycott the Saints and won't attend the game in London. 

"I cannot walk in that stadium and I don't care to support any group that takes a knee during the National Anthem," said Nungesser.  

Nungesser is in Europe promoting tourism to Louisiana. He says seeing the Saints players sitting during the National Anthem at Sunday's game disgusted him. Other players across the NFL also protested. 

"It's one thing sacred we have is that National Anthem, that everybody comes together and thanks God for the great country we have and to disrespect that I don't care what you're protesting it's not the place for it," said Nungesser.

At a news conference Tuesday, President Trump defended his statement that players should be fired for not standing during the National Anthem. 

"For people to disrespect that by kneeling during the playing of our National Anthem, I think is disgraceful. I think it's a very important thing for the NFL to not allow people to kneel during the playing of our National Anthem, to respect our country and to respect our flag."

Marjorie Esman with the ACLU of Louisiana has strong words about that. 

"What we need to be looking at is the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the President of the United States and other elected officials implying that anyone who dissents is somehow unpatriotic because that is in fact the opposite of the truth, the constitution of this country was written specifically to protect people who disagree with the government," said Esman.

The Saints are also facing criticism from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry. He supports State Representative Kenneth Havard's call to cut tax dollars to the Saints. 

In a statement Landry said:  

"Representative Havard has sparked a great conversation. Why should the taxpayers subsidize with hundreds of millions of dollars a two billion dollar organization that allows the blatant disregard for our flag and our anthem? I call on the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to take a stand and support the Legislature's examination into his proposal."

As for Nungesser, he says just like NFL players are taking a knee, he has the right as a citizen not to attend an event where people disgrace the National Anthem. He says this is a sad day for America. 

"I've worked with veterans since I've been a young person and I've stood next to mothers with my hand over my heart as they played the National Anthem and watched the tears in their eyes and know what that song means to veterans and those families that lost loved ones," said Nungesser. 

While Nungesser says he won't be attending the Saints game, he will still visit London to promote tourism to Louisiana, specifically direct flight into New Orleans. 

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