Restaurant Begins Year 2 of NFL Boycott, Owner Says Business Has Increased


There are different ways to deal with any controversy. One of the most well-known sportswear brands is floundering after their controversial endorsement decision, while one restaurant’s choice to go in the totally opposite direction is paying off.

We’re talking, of course, about Nike and the NFL kneeling kerfuffle. After the company behind the famous “swoosh” named washed-up national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick the face of their ad campaign, stock shares sank and widespread anti-Nike boycotts were announced.

It doesn’t look like a particularly smart business move, which almost anybody with half a brain could have predicted. Maybe Nike executives should have asked around in Lugoff, South Carolina, first.

That’s where one small business owner took a bold stand against the NFL, and it’s having the complete opposite effect as with Nike.

“Dave Pettinelli, the owner of Dave’s Place in Lugoff, is a veteran and said he disagrees with the time and manner of players who choose to kneel during the national anthem,” reported WIS-TV.

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He “banished” the NFL from his restaurant last season, and won’t be showing any professional football at the establishment this year, either.

As a sign with a red slash through the NFL logo outside Dave’s Place makes clear, the restaurant has gone all-in on standing up for the stars and stripes instead of the increasingly controversial league.

The result? Business didn’t disappear. It improved.

“People come in and they tell me I’m doing the right thing,” he told WIS-TV. “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.”

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That personal belief is shared by many patrons.

“I called my cable company and told them I don’t want to watch anything having to do with the NFL,” explained one Dave’s Place regular named Stoney Wages.

“I think during the anthem they ought to show a little respect for the country,” Wages, a veteran who deployed to Vietnam three times, continued. “They got the rest of the day, the rest of the week to go outside and get on their knees whenever they want.”

For his part, the restaurant owner doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to address community issues facing the nation. But Pettinelli is adamant that refusing to stand for the American flag during the national anthem is the wrong approach.

“If you want to be productive and not divisive, do it outside the stadium,” he explained. “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.”

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“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,” he continued.

It’s a solid point. The idea that Nike running ads with Kaepernick’s face will do anything to actually improve inner city problems is a bit ludicrous. More likely, it was about attention — both for the washed-up quarterback who was benched even before he started kneeling, and the well-known sports brand.

They’re getting attention all right, but not the kind they expected. Actions have consequences, and it turns out that small-town patriotism is a bit more popular than spoiled millionaires pouting for the cameras. Go figure.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.