A Chattanooga, Tennessee, man told local media outlets that he lost his job after he sat for the national anthem last weekend.
Tyler Chancellor, who worked for kickboxing gym 9Round for about a week, was told by the owner not to come back after he sat during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Chancellor said he was training to become a kickboxing coach.
“Me being a minority in this society,” he told Fox17, “I chose to stand up for what I believe in—well not actually stand up, but sit down for what I believe in.” He said he saw “other minorities” sitting down in the stands.
He was sitting with his coworkers in the VIP section of Camp Jordan Arena for the event.
Tyler Chancellor says he comes from a military family, but chose not to stand for the national anthem at an event Saturday. pic.twitter.com/kJ2UThm1i3
— Hannah Lawrence (@hannah_NC9) October 9, 2017
His boss told him that sitting reflects poorly on the gym.
“She said, ‘Because you sat down, you were a part of a 9Round event, and you sat during the national anthem. We no longer want to continue business with you,’” Chancellor told the station. “There was no sugar coating.”
Harvard Law School Professor Mark Tushnet told Fox17 that Tennessee law stipulates that employers can run businesses however they choose to.
“Employers are entitled to fire people what’s known as ‘at will.'” Tuchnet said. “That is for any reason they have, or for no reason at all.”
Around half of states can do that, he explained.
— theGrio.com (@theGrio) October 11, 2017
The owner of the gym, who was not named, told the station that the company backs military and first responders. He considered Chancellor’s actions to be disrespectful.
It comes as a Division III football player in Pennsylvania, Gyree Durante, took a knee for the national anthem before a game.
Durante, who played for Albright College, was subsequently kicked off the team.
“The football team made a team-wide decision to both kneel during the coin toss and stand during the national anthem,” a spokeswoman for the school told NBC 10. “This action, which was supported by the coaching staff, was created as an expression of team unity and out of the mutual respect team members have for one another and the value they place on their differences. It was established as a way to find common ground in a world with many differing views.”
Durante said that he was protesting racism in the United States.
“I believe heavily in this. So I decided to fight for it,” he explained to the station.
Two of Durante’s teammates told NBC10 that while they understood his stance, his not keeping his word meant that they could no longer trust him.
“We trusted him throughout the week, after time and time again he told us he would stand,” Powell said. “When you can’t have a player on a team that you can trust, he’s got to go.”
The national anthem protests were started by ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year, and he has since claimed he was protesting police brutality and injustice.
Last month, President Donald Trump reignited the debate over the anthem protests, saying that NFL players who don’t stand should be fired.
Trump told Fox News‘ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night that Kaepernick should have been suspended for “one game, and he would have never done it again.”
“They could have then suspended him for two games and they could have suspended him again if he did it a third time, for the season, and you would never have had a problem,” he said.