Just when we thought the controversy surrounding some NFL players’ choice to kneel or remain off-field during the national anthem had quieted slightly, a Florida bar is reigniting the flame. FOX 13 reports Curtis and Janet West, who own the Beef O’ Brady’s location on Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville, Florida, are taking a vocal stand against the NFL and its players by cancelling the restaurant’s pricey DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket package.
According to FOX 13, signs around the restaurant read: “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. 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.”
With the $5,200 the owners save by not purchasing the NFL Sunday Ticket package, they say their Beef O’ Brady’s location will offer 40-percent food discounts to veterans on Sunday game days. Owner Curtis West says he believes kneeling during the national anthem shows “disrespect to veterans.”
West also tells FOX 13 he knows the choice not to broadcast NFL games could hit his restaurant’s bottom line—as well as that of his servers, who could lose out on tips—but he’s told staff to hang in there: “We have a very generous community and they take care of our wait staff very well.”
Naturally, debate has spilled onto the restaurant’s Yelp page:
The issue is sure to be in the spotlight for a while as the NFL Players Association and the league negotiate to resolve their differences over the league’s policy. Last month, the Players Association filed a grievance against the league, arguing the recently announced requirement that players stand if they are on-field for the anthem “is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”
Don’t expect this debate—or businesses’ reactions to it—to die down in time for this season’s first kick-off.