The owners of a restaurant in Florida said that they’ve canceled a cable television package for NFL games and won’t show any games because of the ongoing National Anthem protests some of the players have engaged in.
The protests have featured some players kneeling while the anthem is playing. The National Anthem is played before every game.
The protesting players have said they’re protesting police violence against black people and other minorities but critics, including some other players, such as the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, have said the anthem isn’t the right time to engage in protests.
Curtis West co-owns Beef O’Brady’s in Brooksville with his wife Janet.
He told Fox 13 that the restaurant has canceled the DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket package because of the protests.
“Last year, with the kneeling and the disrespect to our veterans and our flag and our country, I was very upset,” West said.
“I am an American patriot. I am not that kind of guy, but it makes me angry, it really does. The people that are doing the protests, I don’t believe their intention is to disrespect our veterans but that is what has come from this.”
He noted the establishment will save about $5,200 from canceling their package, which they’ll be using to offer veterans 40 percent off of food during Sunday game days.
A poster that West hung around the restaurant states, “Beef O’Brady’s will not be financially supporting the NFL this year due to their lack of compassion and gratitude for our American service members.”
It added, “Our National Anthem is one of the methods we as American citizens have always used to show our appreciation to all military service members, past or present, alive or dead. This tradition deserves respect and unfortunately, the NFL does not feel that same way. So, for this season, we will not be purchasing the NFL ticket. Perhaps, it will make a difference if it hits their wallets.”
West said the restaurant will still air whatever games are being played on local channels since they’ll be free.
The NFL mandated in a rule introduced in May that players must stand for the anthem or wait in the locker room, but froze the new rule after backlash from players.
The NFL started requiring players to be on the field for the anthem in 2009—the year it signed a marketing deal with the military, according to the Associated Press.