The NFL announced last month, after pressure from social justice sportswriters and the player’s union, that there would be “no change” to their national anthem policies – meaning, essentially, that players will be free to kneel in front of the flag and will suffer no financial penalties for doing so. Since this basically guarantees that the protests will continue, we expect that the NFL’s bottom-line woes will continue as well.
Already battling reputational problems stemming from domestic violence scandals and a new focus on the longterm effect of repeated concussions, the NFL will have to contend once again with the legions of fans who have decided they will not watch a game where the players disrespect the flag, the anthem, our police, and our troops on national television.
And the backlash is widening.
It was reported this week that a Beef O’Brady’s in Brooksville, FL will no longer show NFL games on Sunday because of the ongoing anthem controversy. Curtis West told the Tampa Bay Fox station that he has canceled his DirecTV NFL season pass because he can no longer support a league that stands against everything he believes in.
“Last year, with the kneeling and the disrespect to our veterans and our flag and our country, I was very upset,” West told Fox 13.
West told the station that his franchise will save over $5,000 by canceling the package, though he concedes that it could be damaging to his bottom line. To make up the ground, his restaurant is giving military veterans 40% off their meals on NFL Sundays and they will still broadcast games that play on regular network television.
“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,” a new poster in the restaurant says. “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.”
It’s entirely possible that conservatives, vets, and patriots in the Brooksville area will flock to West’s restaurant in such numbers that it will more than make up for the business he’s losing by canceling the satellite service. But even if that doesn’t happen, West’s commitment to his values is worth celebrating on its own; it’s not every business owner who would put their money where their mouth is in this way.
As for the NFL, they need to seriously consider cracking down on this nonsense before what happened at one Florida restaurant becomes a nationwide trend.