Earlier this week, we saw a sizeable rally near NFL headquarters in New York City in support of Colin Kaepernick, who remains unsigned despite several teams employing quarterbacks that can best be described as “meh.” That rally came just a couple of days after several current and former NYPD officers also rallied in support of Kaepernick.
And those who showed their love for Kaepernick on Wednesday aren’t alone: two bars near Soldier Field in Chicago have announced that they won’t show NFL games in their establishments as long as Kaepernick remains unemployed.
Velvet Lounge, on Cermak Road, and The Bureau Bar, on 16th Street, announced their boycott on social media.
The bars are owned by Kenny Johnson.
“Every bar benefits from football games…this is more about right and wrong,” Johnson said. “We’ll take a hit, but be OK.”
It “just didn’t sit well” with Johnson that Kaepernick “can’t get a job when he’s better than a number of quarterbacks who have jobs. …This is a way to make a statement. Hopefully something changes and I would encourage other bars to do this also,” he said.
Johnson, who is black, said he and many of his friends have been racially profiled by police; when Kaepernick began his protest at this time last year he cited police brutality and racial injustice as reasons he was choosing to kneel during the national anthem.
On nights when there are NFL games, Johnson said his bars will have other events instead of showing the games.
But at least one event hall near Cleveland has decided not to show Cleveland Browns games for the opposite reason: because several Browns players kneeled and prayed during the anthem before Monday’s preseason game against the Giants.
Tim Zvoncheck, the commander of VFW Post 3345 in Strongsville, Ohio, posted a message on his Facebook page to say that the club won’t be showing the local team on its televisions.
“Tonight, I asked the membership of my post, VFW 3345, what they thought of the Cleveland Browns players kneeling during the National Anthem and the coaching staff backing their decision. Just as I suspected, the ‘boos’ nearly tore the roof off,” Zvoncheck wrote. “Effective immediately, VFW Post 3345 will no longer televise any Cleveland Browns games! We will never support any person or organization who disgraces the flag or the anthem that we fought for and so many or our brothers and sisters have died for! Until a formal apology by this organization is publicized and the utter disregard to America ceases, we, as veterans of this great country will not stand for this! We love our Browns, but we love our flag more…God bless America and damn those who think differently! #RespectOurFlag”
The group has also posted its decision on a signboard outside the hall.
Many would argue that military members fight to protect the right of all citizens to peacefully protest, as the First Amendment allows, whether you agree with the method or not.