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Company to let Utah Jazz suite remain empty over NBA's 'political propaganda'

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Utah Jazz, New Orleans Pelicans players take a knee during national anthem. (TNT screengrab from July 30, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Calling recent actions by NBA players, coaches, and the league itself "almost beyond expression," a Utah company plans to let its licensed suite at Vivint Smart Home Arena to "remain dark and unused" as a response.

SME Steel Contractors sent a letter to Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller expressing "disappointment and disillusionment" with the recent actions done by the league in the aftermath of May's killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The company says it has spent "approximately $6 million" by licensing a full suite to all home games since 1992.

The letter -- signed by CEO Craig Moyes, owner Jerry Moyes, President Dieter H. Klohn, and VP of finance Gordon K. Holladay -- begins with a breakdown of SME Steel's history with the Jazz before explaining why the company is taking such actions.

The letter says:

We have been stunned to see the entire Jazz team kneeling during the playing of our county's national anthem. Like other fans throughout the country, SME was disappointed that the 20 I 9-20 season was disrupted by the COVID pandemic. That disappointment pales, however, to the feelings we experienced when NBA games "restarted" on what appears to be a billboard for the "Black Lives Matter" movement. The final evidence of NBA disregard for its fans and customers was the recent wildcat strike engaged in by NBA players-resulting in the frivolous disruption of scheduled playoff games."

The letter goes on to call out Jazz players for wearing "tributes for felons" on the back of their jerseys.

The NBA is allowing players to wear one of a few dozen previously-approved social justice slogans on the back of their jerseys this season.

The company is pulling its support from the Jazz and the NBA "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."

You can read the full letter below:


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