(WVUE) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the state of Louisiana will continue to meet its contractual obligations with the New Orleans Saints despite calls from legislators to cut off funding for the team after players participated in protests during the national anthem before last Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Edwards made the remarks on a radio show hosted by former Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.
"The National Anthem and the American flag are symbols of freedom and should unite all of us, despite our differences," Edwards said.
"Having served our country in the military, I will always choose to stand for the National Anthem and encourage others to do likewise. We recognize that our fellow citizens have a First Amendment right to express these sentiments. That said, it seems to me there are more effective ways to go about it. I would hope that, as a nation, individuals on both sides of this issue can come together and work to do better.
"In the meantime, the state must continue to meet its contractual obligations with the Saints. We will work with the legislature and other officials to ensure complete transparency as to what those obligations are," Edwards said.
The comments come after several state officials have either proposed stopping the flow of state money to the team or have boycotted games.
Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser has said he will not attend the Saints game in London on Sunday despite being in the United Kingdom to promote state tourism and economic opportunities.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has said funding for the team should be questioned after Sunday's protests.
State representatives Kenny Havard, Jr., R-Jackson and Valerie Hodges, R- Denham Springs have both requested a review of state funding for the team.
Ten Saints players were among the 150 NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem Sunday.