Lawmaker takes aim at Tennessee government’s help for pro teams

Rep. Judd Matheny (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – In the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players not honoring the national anthem, a Tennessee House member says he doesn’t want the state to help pro teams unless they change.

Rep. Judd Matheny, who is also running for Congress, is planning a bill preventing future deals with state help like the Tennessee Titans received more than 20 years.

“Until all (Tennessee) sports teams stand up and respect the national anthem, we are going to pass this bill,” he told News 2.

Things like bonds, tax breaks, or land go away if teams want new stadiums or arenas. They will have to build it and buy the land with their own money and pay taxes like everyone else

All this comes after the president’s comments Friday in Huntsville where he said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when someone disrespects our flag say ‘Get that son of (bleep) off the field right now? Out. He’s fired.”

The Titans Sunday in Nashville, along with the visiting Seattle Seahawks, stayed in their locker rooms for the national anthem.

(Courtesy: Daishawn Hayes)

“If they are going to slap us in the face when we give them subsidies, then we are going to stop it,” added Rep. Matheny.

When the Titans came to Nashville in the late 1990s, part of the nearly 300 million stadium deal was 55 million in state bonds.

Matheny would end that and any future such practices for Tennessee pro-teams once current obligations are met, but many team supporters say the state gets it back and much more in Titans game day sales tax revenue that pay for the bonds.

How much support the bill gets going forward will be something to watch. Rep. Matheny claims he will eventually have it.