Utah Steel Company Gives Up NBA Suite Because of League’s Politicization
SME Steel Contractors, based in Salt Lake County, Utah, has decided to relinquish its suite at Jazz games due to the game’s politicization, specifically national anthem kneeling.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the company is asking the team to “put a stop to all disrespectful actions during the anthem and remove the Black Lives Matter logo from the arena.”
SME sent a letter on September 9th to Jazz owner Gail Miller stating that “[T]he 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 adds that “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.”
It ends as such:
“Perhaps when the arenas are empty the NBA, its franchises, and its players will rethink their present course of action. Regardless of how other patrons react, please be advised that unless and until the NBA and the Utah Jazz put a stop to all disrespectful actions during the anthem and remove the Black Lives Matter logos from the arena, SME’s suite at the Vivint Smart Home Arena will remain dark and unused. Moreover, SME will not renew its licensing agreement or make any further payment for its suite until the NBA and its franchises again offer sports and entertainment rather than divisive political propaganda.”
The courageous stance taken by SME Steel Contractors is refreshing at a time when so many are silent as they witness the politicization of sports. It will be curious to see if other companies follow suit.