When the owner of a family-run restaurant in Ohio decided to stop showing NFL games, he was worried about losing business.
But Bill DeFries was so frustrated with the disrespect shown by NFL players during the national anthem that he went ahead with the boycott anyway, even after DirecTV refused to refund the $6,000 he paid for the NFL package.
“I have to tell you as a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I served to defend our country’s Constitution and free speech,” DeFries, who owns a Beef O’Brady’s franchise in Beavercreek, Ohio, told Fox Business. “While I defend the right of every American to express their views and voice this freely, the actions demonstrated by the NFL players during the country’s national anthem—it was offensive and disrespectful to me as a proud veteran and all my fellow veterans.”
— Bill DeFries (@billdefries) July 4, 2017
DeFries met with his senior staff to make sure everyone was on board with the move. Everyone agreed.
“We knew that our sales would be negatively impacted,” DeFries said days after turning off NFL.
But what happened afterward is completely different from what DeFries expected. More customers are coming in than ever before.
“Every day our sales have been up between 200 and 300 percent. People we have never seen before are driving hours to support us and the employees,” DeFries told the Dayton Daily News. “We have received heartwarming and supportive phone calls, emails and direct messages from people all over the United States thanking us.”
After DeFries started the boycott, his restaurant was featured on television and newspapers. Meanwhile, customers are not only coming in droves but also showing support for the restaurant on social media.
“It turns out the enormous amount of pride and reverence that we have for the national anthem and everything that it means to us as a free people is shared by the vast majority of Americans,” DeFries said. “And I’m seeing it firsthand.”
DeFries knew that national anthem protests had been happening since last year, but the last straw for him was the Sunday game when more than 200 players knelt in response to comments made by President Donald Trump. The president said that NFL players who disrespect the national anthem should be fired.
DeFries said his motivation did not have anything to do with the president’s comments but with the players’ actions. He invited Trump and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to come to his restaurant and hash things out.
Most Americans disapprove of the NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, according to a CBS poll.