LSU President F. King Alexander finally named the state lawmakers who called him and threatened to slash funding for the school if any football players took a knee during the national anthem.
After much speculation about who constituted the “group of Louisiana legislators” mentioned in a Washington Post column, as well as the veracity of Alexander’s claim regarding their alleged threat, Alexander identified the elected officials.
“Rep. Art Vandelay totally called me for reals and told me point-blank that, if any LSU players disrespected the flag and our veterans by protesting during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ before a game, he and a cadre of like-minded legislators would see to it that funding to the state’s flagship university would be cut even further than it has been in the last decade,” Alexander said in a statement released by his office.
“These totally real and not-at-all-made-up legislators hate higher education so much, they’ll do anything to find an excuse to cut funding for it. I’m so serious, you guys.”
Besides Vandelay, other lawmakers in this group promising to cut LSU’s budget in response to any such protest include Rep. Rusty Shackleford, Rep. George Glass, Sen. D.B. Cooper, and Sen. Keyser Söze, according to the statement.
When Alexander reminded Vandelay that LSU players traditionally don’t take the field until after the anthem, the obscure lawmaker reportedly vowed that he and his allies in the House and Senate would push through legislation requiring players to be on the field to honor America, thus giving lawmakers another possible reason to cut funding for the state’s colleges and universities.
“These totally real and not-at-all-made-up legislators hate higher education so much, they’ll do anything to find an excuse to cut funding for it. I’m so serious, you guys,” Alexander’s statement read. “The phone call, the legislators: They’re all as real as the potential for the protests. This could really happen!”