Though the Super Bowl is one of America’s biggest sporting events and follows some serious celebration every year, this year it has brought with it controversy from several small businesses who have refused to air the program.
The controversy, suggested Alabama small business owner Kris Conlon, has to do with the recent movement sweeping the NFL — that of players kneeling during the National Anthem.
Though the longtime restaurant owner admitted that he has “always tried to steer away from politics,” this year he decided that enough was enough and he was thoroughly “hacked off” from watching the players repeatedly kneeling.
The result of Conlon’s resentment had him closing up shop in his Daphne, Alabama, restaurants the night of the Super Bowl, only to open it up to certain guests.
Conlon’s adjacent Guido’s and Cousin Vinny’s closed at 2 p.m. and reopened from the hours of four to eight — the duration of the sporting event — in order to serve a complimentary spaghetti dinner to veterans, first-responders, their family and friends.
Breaking with tradition, Conlon was adamant about not showing the Super Bowl this year.
“I would like to get as many people together as possible for camaraderie and fellowship,” Conlon said, though he admitted that there was a semblance of sacrifice in the act.
“I’m losing business to do this,” he added. “We’re normally very busy for the Super Bowl on the pizza side.”
Though the restaurant owner added that he understands the players’ right to free speech, he admitted he couldn’t help but feel they were “hijacking a particular venue,” in order to display their message.
Conlon is one among many calling out the slight that veterans and first-responders share as they are underpaid, overworked, and treated unfairly.
“It blows my mind that someone can kneel during the National Anthem and not put their hand over their heart,” Conlon said, contrasting their million-dollar pay with the little service-members receive annually.
And though the dinner was complimentary, the owners asked for donations on behalf of those that sacrifice their lives on a daily basis, receiving nearly $600 before the actual “shutdown” even began.
“I’m standing in solidarity in regard to the First Amendment right to free speech,” he added. “I’m backing up those who’ve given us the ability to have an issue with the government, the right to demonstrate peaceably.”
And the small Alabama owner isn’t the only one taking a stand against those that repeatedly take a knee, as businesses across the nation have effectively banned the NFL from their normal Sunday routines.
Woody’s Roadside Tavern in Farmingdale, New Jersey, has stopped airing NFL games since November of last year amid the growing number of players “taking a knee” during the anthem, and they continued the tradition by boycotting the major sporting event Sunday as well.
In a statement posted to their Facebook, the restaurant owners wrote that “since Veterans Day we have not shown the NFL and will continue to not broadcast the NFL on Superbowl Sunday.”
“We hope that next season the players find a better way to bring light to issues,” they added. “And stand and respect our flag and anthem.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.