- Thomas Gnau Staff Writer
The owner of Beef O’Brady’s restaurant in Beavercreek says he will not air NFL games at his restaurant while NFL players kneel during the national anthem.
“They need to return to respect for the flag and the anthem,” restaurant owner Bill DeFries said in an interview Wednesday. “They can certainly exercise their right to free speech — but not during that one period of time, as far as I’m concerned.”
DeFries is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “While I respect the right of every American to express their views and voices freely, the actions demonstrated by NFL players during our country’s national anthem are offensive and disrespectful to me as a proud veteran,” DeFries said in a prepared statement.
PUBLIC RESPONDS: Restaurant owner says response to NFL boycott has been ‘overwhelming’
And CBS Sports and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that DirectTV is letting “at least some” customers cancel subscriptions to its Sunday Ticket package of NFL games and obtain refunds if they cite players’ national anthem protests as the reason, customer service representatives told the news outlets.
About 150 NFL players took a knee -- or protested in some other way -- before or during the playing of the national anthem this past Sunday. Many did it to protest or call attention to what they feel are instances of racial injustice or police brutality. Others did it to express solidarity with, or support for, fellow players.
“It baffles me that our protest is still being misconstrued as disrespectful to the country, flag and military personnel,” San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid wrote in a recent New York Times column. “We chose it because it’s exactly the opposite. It has always been my understanding that the brave men and women who fought and died for our country did so to ensure that we could live in a fair and free society, which includes the right to speak out in protest.”
“We’ll do it indefinitely until they (NFL players) can have a conversation among themselves and maybe even include President Trump,” DeFries said in an interview. “When the national anthem is played, if you’re anywhere within earshot of that, you stop what you’re doing, and face towards the flag.”
“They need to pick the right time and place to have that protest,” he added. “We’re going to exercise our right to let them know that what they did was misguided.”
Instead of airing NFL games, DeFries said he will offer a 50-percent discount to all active-duty military and veterans on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays during all NFL games.
Asked how he will respond if his stance hurts his business, DeFries said: “We’re ready.”
He said he assured his servers and bartenders that he will compensate them “out of my own pocket” for any tips or gratuities they miss if business falls as a result of his decision.
Said DeFries: “Even though we may lose business, it’s important for us to be heard as well.”
Beef O’Brady’s is a restaurant at 3347 Seajay Drive in the Beaver Valley Shopping Center.
DeFries has owned and overseen Beef O’Brady’s restaurants in Centerville and Beavercreek for a total of nearly 14 years. He sold the Centerville location five years ago.