A bar owner at Lake of the Ozarks made a doormat out of two NFL players’ jerseys.
Some restaurants are refusing to play NFL games; fans are burning team merchandise and posting images online.
The response to the NFL players’ protest against racism in the U.S. has been anything but tepid.
A Pennsylvania fire chief was removed from his position after his Facebook response to a player protest used a racial slur, stating that Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin had “just added himself to the list of no good [racial slur]. Yes I said it.”
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Jason Burle, owner of S.N.A.F.U Bar in Lake Ozark, Mo., taped the jerseys for Marshawn Lynch, of the Oakland Raiders, and Colin Kaepernick, a free agent formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, side by side in front of his establishment for customers to use as a doormat. Burle told the Chicago Sun-Times that “it’s not a race thing” and he has no ill intent, but that the same First Amendment that allows the football players to kneel for the national anthem allows him to use the jerseys as a doormat.
Originally the jerseys were set with Lynch on the left and Kaepernick on the right, which to many spelled “Lynch Kaepernick.” Burle said that was not the intention and he has switched the jerseys around.
An Ohio sheriff is refusing to allow his county deputies to work off-duty details at NFL games after he witnessed a #TakeAKnee protest at the game between the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
However, a poll conducted this week found that 84 percent of Americans support the NFL players’ right to protest. Only 35 percent approved of the specific protest of kneeling before the anthem, while 49 percent said they have the right to protest, but would prefer that they stand for the anthem. About 16 percent said they believe the kneeling players should be fired.
The poll had a wide racial gap: 28 percent of white respondents supported the right to kneel, compared to 70 percent of black respondents.
One analysis pointed out that the NFL player protests against racial inequality in the U.S. began more than a year ago, and on any given weekend, no more than a few joined initial protester Kaepernick by sitting or kneeling during the anthem.
But after President Donald Trump tweeted last weekend that the players should be fired for doing so, more than 200 players joined the protest — some joined by their coaches and owners for the first time. Most of the NFL’s teams have issued statements calling the president’s comments “divisive and disrespectful,” stating that they respected their players’ First Amendment rights.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with owners and some players earlier this week to discuss the ongoing controversy. Several who attended the meeting said Goodell did not push for players to cease their protest. Later he issued a statement that did not mention Trump by name, but referred to “divisive comments.”
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” he said. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
▪ NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers are demanding refunds from DirecTV for their subscriptions, according to Fox 4 Kansas City. The game broadcast subscription service usually doesn’t allow refunds, but has begun making exceptions due to the viewer backlash — from both supporters and opponents of the player protests.
▪ New Orleans Saints players Kenny Vaccaro and Alex Okafor were disinvited to be grand marshals in next year’s Mardi Gras parade after they sat for the national anthem on Sunday, according to CNN.
▪ Yahoo! Sports has compiled a number of online videos of fans burning their NFL gear after the protests.