Louisiana Governor Demands New Policy After LSU's National Anthem Snub Sparks a Firestorm


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

On April 2, Republican Gov. Jeff Landry of Louisiana called for a rule that would require college athletes to be present for the playing of the national anthem before games.

Landry, who is serving his first term as governor, issued a lengthy statement about the matter a day after his state’s flagship school missed the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before being knocked out of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

The LSU Tigers were notably absent for the playing of the anthem in the team’s Elite Eight matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes — a team the Bayou Bengals defeated for the national championship last year.

In a statement he posted on his X page, Landry decried skipping the anthem as disrespectful.

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“My mother coached women’s high school basketball during the height of desegregation, no one has a greater respect for the sport and for Coach Mulkey,” Landry began.

He added, “However, above respect for that game is a deeper respect for those that serve to protect us and unite us under one flag!”

The governor then called on school administrators and others to enforce a rule that would require athletes to respect their country before sporting events.

Do you agree with Gov. Jeff Landry?

He also floated the idea of having students lose their scholarships for noncompliance.

“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!” Landry stated. “This is a matter of respect that all collegiate coaches should instill.”

Video of LSU’s skipping of the anthem spread like wildfire on social media before and after tipoff April 1.

A clip that was viewed more than nine million times showed the ladies of Iowa each present for the playing of the anthem.

Watch: LSU Football Coach Responds to Kim Mulkey Skipping National Anthem, Says His Team Will 'Stand Proud' for It

LSU was absent, and coach Kim Mulkey later explained the team did not intentionally skip the pre-game show of respect.

“Honestly I don’t even know when the anthem was played,” said Mulkey, who said her team was doing a routine pregame warmup while the anthem was played.

“We kinda have a routine where we are on the floor, and then they come off at the 12-minute mark. We just come in, and we do our pre-game stuff,” Mulkey concluded.

LSU ended up losing to Iowa 94-87.

The Tigers had been a heavy favorite to repeat as national champions.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.