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Louisiana governor calls for requirement that teams be present for national anthem after LSU criticism

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry (R) asked the state’s Board of Regents Tuesday to create a policy requiring student-athletes to be present during the national anthem in order to keep their scholarships.

Landry’s letter to the board came after Louisiana State University’s (LSU) women’s basketball match-up against the University of Iowa Monday, during which viewers criticized the LSU team for being absent from the court for the national anthem.

“By choosing to miss the National Anthem, the basketball team showed a lack of respect not only for the values of our country, but for the individuals who hold these values dear in our State and across the country,” Landry wrote in the letter, provided to local Louisiana outlet WAFB.

He doubled down in a Wednesday interview on Fox News, saying, “College athletes need to understand that in order to be truly united, in order to truly have civics and civility, we all need to be united under one flag and respect that anthem.”

Kim Mulkey, LSU head coach, said in a post-game press conference that she was unaware the anthem was played and that her team was following their typical pre-game routine.

“I’m sorry,” Mulkey said. “Listen, that’s nothing intentionally done.”

In a statement to Fox News, LSU athletics spokesperson Cody Worsham said the school’s basketball teams have not been on the court for the anthem for several seasons.

There are no NCAA guidelines requiring teams to be present for the national anthem.

Landry supports Mulkey, but said the issue is “a bigger problem for collegiate sports nationally” and is one he thinks the Board of Regents should address at all colleges in Louisiana, he told Fox News.

“Everybody should respect the flag,” Landry said. “If you don’t like it, well, guess what? You don’t have to play the sport.”

Landry said he thinks athletes should be required to stand during the national anthem, but Louisiana universities would be responsible for putting specific policies in place.

LSU lost to Iowa 94-87 and will not continue to the next round of the tournament.

Landry congratulated the team on “an incredible season” on X and told Fox News that he hopes “all of the Final Four teams would be out there respecting our nation and letting everyone know that we’re united under one.”

The Hill has reached out to Landry’s office for comment.

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