LSU's Brian Kelly says if school wants team on field for national anthem, 'we're going to proudly stand'

LSU’s Brian Kelly says if school wants team on field for national anthem, ‘we’re going to proudly stand’

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LSU athletics were thrust into the spotlight over whether programs should be on the field or the floor for the national anthem.

Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry urged state officials to enact a policy that requires student-athletes to be present for the national anthem after the LSU women’s basketball team received harsh backlash for missing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before its game against Iowa.

Landry then doubled down on his remarks in an interview on “America Reports.”

LSU football coach Brian Kelly reacted to Landry’s comments Saturday.


Brian Kelly vs Alabama

Head coach Brian Kelly of the LSU Tigers before facing the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium Nov. 4, 2023, in Tuscaloosa, Ala.  (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“I saw it. I know everybody has had their comments about it. I know we put out a statement, (LSU athletic director) Scott Woodward put out a statement as well,” Kelly said, via The Advertiser. “I think our football players would echo this — is that if, at any time, we’re required to be out there, we’ll be wherever we’re told to be. And that’s the bottom line. If our administration wants us out there for the national anthem, we’re going to stand proudly for the national anthem.

“It’s just the way that it has been scripted. And I’ve been doing this for 33 years. On my hand, I can tell you how many times I’ve been out for the national anthem in 33 years. That’s not to say we’re against what the governor is saying.


“We understand where the governor is coming from. We’ll re-look at the policies, and I stand by what Scott has said. I look back at the Army game and how proud we were of that moment to have Army in our stadium. What we did to that stadium to show our patriotism and patriotic backing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get past this pretty soon.”

Brian Kelly at the ReliaQuest Bowl

LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly during the ReliaQuest Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers Jan. 1, 2024, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

LSU women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey said it wasn’t intentional that the women’s team wasn’t out for the anthem.

But Landry said the team skipping the anthem underscores a bigger problem in college sports.

“I’m not calling out the players or coach Mulkey. I support coach Mulkey. My statement said that. I think this is a bigger question,” Landry said on Fox News Channel. “This is a bigger problem for collegiate sports nationally and in Louisiana. I just sent out a letter to each one of our college boards telling them that those college boards should put in place a policy that respects the national anthem. 

“The national anthem is as much a part of American sports as is the actual game that’s being played. And the fact that there is not a policy, and it says, ‘Listen, these players are going to be out there and respect the flag and respect those that go out there and protect us is really disrespectful in and of itself.’

Jeff Landry stands

Jeff Landry, the former attorney general of Louisiana, during a Weaponization of the Federal Government Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., March 30, 2023.  (Valerie Plesch/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


“So, it’s unfortunate that LSU was not there at that particular time. Iowa was on the field — that highlighted the particular problem. And what we’re going to do is work in Louisiana. Say, ‘Listen, 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.’”

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