A Missouri bar is using football jerseys as doormats, and some social media users find the practice to have racist undertones. The two jerseys–Marshawn Lynch’s Raiders jersey and Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey–are taped side by side on the sidewalk.
A passerby noted that when read together, it says: “Lynch Kaepernick” (pictures/video below).
The passerby, Taylor Sloan, took a photo of the display as he was walking by the establishment, a SNAFU Bar in Lake Ozark, Miss., on Sunday.
According to the Huffington Post, Sloan uploaded the image with the following message: “There’s a reason why the NAACP issued a travel warning for Missouri. Pretty obvious the lack of professionalism at this bar. You lost my business the moment you decided to showcase this kind of behavior.”
Although Sloan’s message has been erased, SNAFU owner Jason Burle had a heated debate with him after he saw it. Burle said he is a veteran and explained that the bar has a military connection which prompted the jersey arrangement, as he felt offended by Kaepernick “disrespecting the country” by kneeling during the national anthem.
Kaepernick famously started protesting the flag and anthem when he said they represented a flawed country which allowed minorities to be discriminated against. At the time, he was the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback. He is now hunting for a new team position, after finding no interest in his placement as a free-agent.
Kaepernick’s behavior and inability to find a spot on a team before the start of the 2017 season made his plight a lightning rod for activists, who insisted he wasn’t able to find a team because of his race and protest. This launched a movement in the NFL and other leagues, eventually prompting a response from President Donald J. Trump, who found the practice disrespectful.
Marshawn Lynch came out of retirement this season to join the Oakland Raiders as a starting running back. He drew attention when he sat for the anthem during the team’s first preseason game. He told his coach he’s been sitting since he first entered the league in 2007.
Burle says the arrangement of the jerseys represents his own right to freedom of speech, and said Sloan read racism into it.
“It’s funny to me that someone would look that far deeply into it just to find a racist link,” Burle wrote through SNAFU Bar’s Facebook account. “… The way they were displayed was purely out of accident. But once again just like those players some of you think everything has to be about race and Hate.”
Still, Burle reportedly swapped the jerseys so they read “Kaepernick Lynch.”
— Bruce Logan🇺🇸🦅☮️ (@BruceKLogan) September 28, 2017
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) September 29, 2017
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