Sen. Paul Scott responds to criticism over anthem column

STATE Sen. Paul Scott

DUNCAN — Sen. Paul Scott addressed concerns raised by Oklahoma City blog The Lost Ogle in regards to his recent column, “I stand for the flag, I kneel at the cross” on Monday.

Scott clarified his remarks regarding the OKC Thunder and named the player whose remarks, Scott said, inspired the article.

According to Scott, remarks made by Russell Westbrook during a press conference in September were the impetus for the column.

“Well, Kevin Durant (Scott later corrected that he meant Westbrook) said it in a pre-season interview. I saw him say it,” Scott said. “— and it said that in the article, that Lost Ogle stupid article that — that they wrote, but anyway. He said, ‘Yeah, we’re [going to] go back to the team, and we’re going to consider whether we’re [going to] take a knee or not.’ So, that’s where it came from — That they’re considering taking a knee, well, we’re [going to] consider some things as well.”

The statement Scott was referring to was made by Westbrook during a press conference, where he addressed President Donald Trump’s tweets regarding national anthem protests by athletes across the U.S.

“Obviously, the things he’s saying is outrageous. In my opinion, it’s uncalled for, especially due to all the other things we have going on in the world, the people, the families, the people all across the world that’s hurting, that need help, that need guidance from our house. I think it’s unnecessary and uncalled for and I’m definitely not in agreement with anything he says, never will be,” said Westbrook, who then went on to say the team’s response to the issue would be up to all of the players. “As for me and our team here, if it’s something that we will discuss, [we will] go back to the team and discuss how we want to approach that and the national anthem — We have a lot of respect for the flag, for the national anthem, and obviously, if our guys want to do something that represents togetherness, I’m all in for it.”

According to Scott, the remarks “didn’t sit well” with him, and the press conference subsequently became part of the conversation regarding tax subsidies that he had been having with other legislators, though Scott didn’t specify which lawmakers.

“…It was a pre-season interview with Westbrook, and I love Westbrook, and I know he was in front of the news and, ‘What do I say?’ but instead of saying — ‘Well, if we plan on following the NBA rules and we plan on standing as a team, blah blah blah,’ instead he said, ‘Well, I’m [going to] go back to the team and see if we’re [going to] consider — kneeling or not.’ So that just didn’t sit well with me,” Scott said, before clarifying that there is no current legislation being worked on regarding the protests themselves. “It was just a statement. And the thing is, whether they do or not, you know. — [I own] a business and — we don’t get subsidies. We don’t get tax breaks, we don’t get bailed out if we get in trouble. So, we’re considering eliminating all subsidies. From all major companies unless they can prove that they’re providing quality high-paying jobs into society.”

Scott stated though he isn’t against freedom of speech, he believes the protests themselves are disrespectful and “dishonor the country,” and he insisted there are certain lines that should never be crossed when it comes to raising a voice in protest.

“I’m an American. Hey, I am a red-blooded, true to the core, American born-and-bred guy. And I’ve had great uncles, family, that have fought in military (sic) that have been in wars, and I just honor this country and respect this country. I mean, just, to the ultimate. And I, personally, like the flag, yes it’s a piece of material, okay? But that flag represents our country and the men who have fought and died, and all of our freedoms, yes,” said Scott. “But, I mean, you can’t go out and paint a mustache on Abraham Lincoln. You know, or the Washington Monument? You can’t go paint, ‘Go Mexico,’ on the Washington Monument and get away with it. So, I’m the same way with my flag. That’s a symbol of freedom. Go over to Iraq and burn their flag and see what happens to [you.] Just like my article stated, I’m not against freedom of speech, all of these things, but whenever you go to basically that level of dishonoring your country and I mean, I just do not believe in it. I just totally do not believe in it.”

According to Scott, he was advised to let the issue go by his peers, but he felt that the issue was too important to let go.

“ — That’s what we’ve lost as a country. We just think we can do and say and act however we want and it’s okay and it’s not,” Scott stated. “So, it turned me on (sic) as a personal note and then some of the other guys were like, ‘That’s a bunch of bull, you know?’ and then some folks, they’re like, ‘No, you shouldn’t do anything, you’ll just stir things up.’ Well, I didn’t go up there to be a passive (sic) and to — just join the club up at the capitol. Or in politics. That’s what’s wrong with politics, I feel, as well.”

According to Scott, the issue of police brutality can be partially addressed by simply following the orders of an officer and if for some reason something does go wrong, laws being “enforced equally” will address the problem.

“ — The thing is, don’t run, don’t fight back, follow orders;” Scott said, “I’m just a guy that believes that if it happens, punish the person, you know? No matter what color they are. If a guy shoots a guy — and they prove they did it and it [was] too much force or whatever, he should pay for that. I think we just don’t enforce the laws we have fairly, or equally, is the problem.”

Scott said he isn’t worried about the extra media attention he has received since The Lost Ogle ran its piece on his column, and he is actually grateful for the piece.

“I think what’s funny about it, it’s like telling kids they can’t buy Madonna CDs back in the ‘80s. What’d they do? They went and bought Madonna CDs. So, that, this, here’s the Lost Ogle, see, nobody even knew about my article except Duncan people and maybe Newcastle, I think, put it in there or Purcell. They all thought it was great, thought it was a good article and everything, and I got lots of ‘thank yous’, all that,” said Scott. “Well, now that the Ogle’s picked it up, now see, you’re calling me back, now probably Channel 4 is [going to] get a copy of it. E Capitol wants to write a story on it now from the capitol. They didn’t even know about it, so. So, see what I mean? Now it’s getting all of the attention, when before it didn’t really get attention. — Thank you for bringing my point to light — I mean, why be mad at them? They have their opinion — Thank you for bringing to light Senator Scott’s concerns and blasting it throughout the nation now. We appreciate the free press. You know what I mean? I’m not against free press. I get free press all of the time because of silly stuff.”

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