National Anthem Apr 2, 2023; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the arena is seen during the national anthem prior to the game between the LSU Lady Tigers and the Iowa Hawkeyes during the final round of the Women’s Final Four NCAA tournament at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry is taking a hard line against the LSU women’s basketball team after players missed the national anthem before Monday night’s Elite 8 game against Iowa.

Although Tigers head coach Kim Mulkey said Monday night that the team had gone to the locker room to prepare for the game, Landry and others were not pleased with the optics and the social media backlash.

Landry posted a tweet Tuesday asking the Louisiana Board of Regents to consider a mandate that student-athletes be present for the pregame anthem or risk losing their scholarships.

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

The debate surrounding national anthem protests is nothing new, going back to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protests in 2016. But Landry’s reaction totally overlooked Mulkey’s comments that this was not a protest, that the team was in the locker room during the anthem. An LSU athletic official said Tuesday that both the LSU men’s and women’s teams traditionally stay in the locker room to prepare.

In fact, Iowa players have apparently missed the national anthem for the same reason, as X users shared a video from last year’s national championship game, where both LSU and Iowa players were absent during the anthem.

Landry’s request to the regents appeared to surprise state education officials. Yahoo Sports reported that the state’s commissioner of higher education, Kim Hunter Reed, said the regents have no role in scholarship decisions.

However you feel about the national anthem debate, there was plenty of chatter on social media Tuesday about Gov. Landry’s tweet.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.