A construction company in Salt Lake City recently sent a letter to the Utah Jazz announcing it would no longer pay for an arena suite after the NBA essentially turned itself into "a billboard for the 'Black Lives Matter' movement."
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the company, SME Steel Contractors, Inc., is fed up with the "divisive political propaganda" and is asking the team and league to "put a stop to all disrespectful actions during the anthem and remove the Black Lives Matter logo from the arena."
In a letter sent to Jazz owner Gail Miller earlier this month, company leadership wrote: "The recent actions of the NBA — including the owners, coaches and players of the Utah Jazz — have converted a beloved entertainment venue into a forum for dissemination of political propaganda which is divisive and completely out of step with our company and its values."
The letter went on to cite players kneeling during the national anthem and displaying Black Lives Matter-related slogans on their jerseys as specific reasons for the company's "disappointment and disillusionment."
"Standing quietly and respectfully during the anthem is not merely an antiquated or courteous tradition, it is a way of honoring the many thousands who have protected this country and its unique freedoms-through their service and sacrifice," the letter states before hammering athletes and coaches for kneeling.
"To say the least, it is ironic that pampered and exceptionally well-paid athletes cavalierly exercise the freedom bought for them through the courage, and sacrifice of this nation's servicemen and women by disrespectfully kneeling during the country's anthem," the letter reads. "By the same token, it seems odd and inappropriate for NBA players to adorn their jerseys with names and tributes for felons and politically-divisive slogans from Black Lives Matter, when true heroes like Chris Kyle and Pat Tillman go unnoticed and unremarked."
SME claimed it has spent in excess $6 million over the 28 years that it has licensed a full suite to Jazz games and that several of its employees were "personally involved" in the construction of the arena.
In a statement, the company added that the feedback it has received since sending the letter has been "overwhelmingly positive."
"We have received emails and letters from individuals and companies throughout the country thanking us for standing up for the country, the national anthem, and the idea that sporting events do not need to be a venue for forcing controversial political views on patrons," SME general counsel Mark Wilkey told the Free Beacon.
Since its restart over the summer, the NBA has struggled to attract viewers, with many fans claiming the league has "become too political." During the shortened season, the league has allowed players to kneel during the national anthem and opted to paint "Black Lives Matter" on the shared courts used in the Disney World "bubble."
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump took notice of the ratings drop and wrote on Twitter that "people are tired of watching the highly political NBA."
People are tired of watching the highly political @NBA. Basketball ratings are WAY down, and they won’t be coming b… https://t.co/aJ68sB7WLX— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1598964760.0