Veteran and restaurant owner Dave Pettinelli has decided to protest the NFL for a second year to express his disagreement with the players who have taken a knee during the national anthem.
He would also not be airing any games in the restaurant this season.
Some might consider that a risky move for a local business, but his customers, even the football fans among them, have been willing to show their agreement with his stance by patronizing Dave’s Place in Lugoff, South Carolina.
In August 2017, Pettinelli displayed an anti-NFL sign outside his restaurant, but contrary to what some might expect, he claims the sign has actually helped his business.
“People come in and they tell me I’m doing the right thing,” he told local station WIS. “I’ve noticed business has gone up as a result of the sign but that’s not why I did it. It’s my personal belief and opinion and that’s why I put it up in the first place.”
One frequent customer, Stony Wages, a Vietnam veteran, contacted his cable company and told them he wasn’t going to be ordering the NFL channels anymore.
“I think during the anthem they ought to show a little respect for the country. They got the rest of the day, the rest of the week to go outside and get on their knees whenever they want. Like I’ve said before, church is a good place to get on your knees,” he told WIS.
Other restaurant customers said they preferred not to pay attention to pregame activities and just wanted to watch the game.
“We shouldn’t be acknowledging people and what they’re doing while they’re acknowledging our country,” another customer told WIS. “Let’s get the game going.”
While the NFL created a new policy to address this controversial issue, Pettinelli said they hadn’t solved the problem yet.
The new policy allowed players to stay in the locker room if they wanted to kneel, and all players on the field were required to stand, or the league would fine them.
However, some organizations had reportedly agreed to pay the fines if any players still chose to kneel on the field, and the policy has since been withdrawn by the NFL.
Pettinelli said he would like to see the NFL and its players work on a plan to foster positivity in the country outside the stadium.
“If you want to be productive and not divisive, do it outside the stadium,” he said. “Talk to law enforcement, talk to the young people in these inner cities, talk to them about the gangs, talk to them about vocational schools or going to college.
“These are all the things we need to project to our young people and I don’t think they’re getting their point across to these people.”
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