Tens of millions of Americans will gather together on Sunday in bars, restaurants and homes to watch the defending champion New England Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
But there is one sports bar in Greenville, South Carolina, that won’t be airing the big game — just as it hasn’t aired any regular season or playoff games for the past four months — due to the protests by some players during the national anthem, according to The State newspaper in Columbia.
That sports bar is the Palmetto Restaurant and Alehouse. Instead, it will be celebrating an event called the “Honor Bowl,” featuring live music and a celebration of America, the flag, the military and veterans in place of football, according to an “event” posting on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“It’s disrespectful to those who have died defending our country,” restaurant owner and Air Force veteran David McCraw told The State on Monday. “It shows extraordinary disrespect to those who have risked their lives and have lost their lives.”
“These guys are employees of the NFL,” he said. “As long as the NFL condones disrespecting the national anthem, disrespecting the flag, disrespecting those who have fought and those who have died, and disrespecting the police, I won’t show it.”
McCraw began refusing to air NFL games in his bar in September, and though he admitted that the decision has cost him some business on Sundays, he said his overall sales were up over the past four months due to the strength of his business on the remaining six days of the week.
The restaurant owner told The State that he held no animus toward the players and respected their right to protest, and even stated that he supported the players bringing attention to issues such as racial inequality and police abuse. But he disagreed strenuously with the timing of their protests during the anthem.
“I’m not against the protest, (NFL players) have the right to protest, and I have the right not to show their product in my business,” McCraw said. “Truthfully, there is injustice in the world … If they can come to a reasonable time to protest, and not disrespect the flag and the anthem, I will show the NFL again.”
McCraw reiterated that message in an interview with Fox News and stated, “I’ve never been against the message they’re protesting about, I’m against the timing.”
“I know there are social (inequalities) in our country, and it happens. I believe that is true,” he continued. “I support any direction (players) would like to go, from every race and every position. But you can’t disrespect our flag and our country and expect people to be OK with it.
“I would support (the players), it’s just the manner of the protest makes it where I can’t support it. I couldn’t support any message, from any position — politician, football player,” he added. “If you want to disrespect our country and our flag and our anthem, I can’t approve of your message.”
McCraw stated of his alternative “Honor Bowl” event, “This is not a business decision, this is a personal position I took,” and said he understood that he likely wouldn’t see a packed house Sunday evening during the big game.
“I don’t know how many people are going to show up,” he said. “I’m going up against one of the most widely watched shows in TV history … My goal is just to have a good time.”
McCraw shared how he had received both backlash and support from numerous people throughout his months-long boycott of the NFL, but he has remained steadfast in his stance in regard to the anthem protests and the disrespect they show towards the American flag.
“My feelings are basically the same as they always were,” McCraw told Fox. “I find it disrespectful to the people who fought for this country — their coffins are draped in this flag.”
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