SC restaurant stands with Trump, turns off NFL over player protests

One South Carolina restaurant is taking a stand against the NFL because many of its players won’t during the national anthem.

David McCraw, owner of the Palmetto Restaurant and Ale House in Greenville, turned off all NFL games on Sunday, after taking inspiration from President Donald Trump.

“No NFL games will be played at Palmetto Alehouse until every player stands in respect to our flag and our country,” McCraw said in a post on Facebook, that was removed on Monday. “This is a position that I'm going to take and I hope you will support me.”

Trump inflamed the sports world Friday by saying players who protest police brutality during the Star Spangled Banner by refusing to stand or conducting other acts of defiance should be fired, reiterated Sunday that owners “should do something” about the protests.

This South Carolina business owner noticed and responded.

“Our country, our flag and our respect is at jeopardy,” McCraw added in a comment to his original Facebook post. “Either stand up or lay down. I choose to stand up for our country.”

Following the president’s comments on Friday, more than 100 NFL players sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance during the national anthem on Sunday. Several NFL owners also condemned Trump’s statement, including ally Robert Kraft, owner of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, who expressed “deep disappointment” with Trump.

McCraw said he was an ex-military member in an interview with foxcarolina.com, saying NFL players are entitled and arrogant individuals who use their position for advancement. He added that athletes and other celebrities shouldn’t tell others how to behave because they don’t share the same struggles as everyday people.

Trump said the players protesting the anthem were “very disrespectful to our country.”

Like patrons of McCraw’s restaurant, Trump said he didn’t watch any NFL games Sunday.

“Believe me, I’m doing other things,” he said – but said he watched a little bit and “I will say there was tremendous solidarity for our flag and for our country.”

McCraw said he doesn’t see eye to eye with Trump on all issues, but told foxcarolina.com that he agrees with the president’s statement that NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem at games should be fired.

“Our president is our president, but I don’t stand in unity with everything he says,” said McCraw. “This is a country of one people and we need to stand for our flag.”

“There are issues in this country that need to be addressed, but disrespecting our flag and our country is not the way to do it.”

McCraw said he isn’t worried about losing any business over the NFL boycott. He can be buoyed by the fact that most of the comments on his original Facebook post were positive and supported his stance.

And the few that were negative, McCraw was quick to respond to them, not always in the most dignified manner. But he did take time to type some thoughtful responses, including to some patrons who left Palmetto Alehouse when the TVs showing the NFL were turned off.

“I hope you understand that some things are bigger than watching millionaires playing a sport and disrespect our flag, and our country,” McCraw said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.