When news broke that Lucky’s Burger Shack in Irmo was dropping the NFL Sunday package, it caused quite a reaction, not only in the restaurant but across the Midlands.
Dave Schimsa, who is not a regular customer of the sports bar, says he drove across town for a late lunch. “I saw on my app (on his phone) where they dropped the NFL package and I came out to support them,” he said. “I haven’t watched the NFL since last year.”
Lucky’s owner, Cheryl Gunter, posted a picture Monday on Facebook showing the restaurant’s sign with the news that the restaurant will discontinue carrying the Sunday football games and added the message “United We Stand.”
In a statement issued to WIS, the owner stressed that the bar agreed there “are many issues across our great country that need to be addressed.” But it stated that the decision by the NFL’s players to kneel and the “media frenzy” that followed “seem to be fanning the fires of discontent.”
Customers inside Lucky’s agreed. A few who had gathered for lunch weighed in on restaurant’s decision. Among them, Candy Linehan said that football is America’s sport and it’s supposed to be fun, something to bring the family together but, she says, “it’s become political... this whole thing has taken the fun out of it.”
At the end of the bar, Mark Ruilova, owner of the Peddler’s Market in Ballentine, says “I’ll always salute the flag and this country and if you don’t, you don’t need to be here, quite honestly.”
Ruilova’s friend Rosalind Martonen says players who protest “should be fired or kicked off the team. If you don’t stand for our country... then out.”
Kim Lanier, the manager of Lucky’s says that she and Gunter have been taken by surprise by the public’s reaction. Lanier says that the two had planned to drop the NFL package a couple of weeks ago after noticing that conversations within the bar started out with sports but turned to the NFL players’ protests.
“Everyone has an opinion,” says Lanier. “And we agree that there are a lot of issues that need fixing in this country, but players in the NFL have other outlets to say what they want to say. The two minutes (while the national anthem is played) is not that platform.”