The owner of the Beef ‘O’Brady’s restaurant and pub in Beavercreek will refuse to televise NFL games again this year, saying on the eatery’s Facebook page on Sept. 5 that, “The decision to stand up for the American Flag and National Anthem was—and is—the right one.”
Bill DeFries, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, made national headlines last year when he announced a similar move. He said he would be “continuing that tradition” during this NFL season. The announcement was warmly received by followers of the restaurant’s Facebook page. “I appreciate your stance on this,” one commenter wrote.
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Last year, more than 100 NFL players took a knee before or during the performance or playing of the national anthem during one Sunday in late September. Some said they did it to protest or call attention to what they feel are instances of racial injustice or police brutality, while others said they did it to express solidarity with or support for fellow players.
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There have been far fewer similar displays of protest so far this year in pre-season NFL games, and the league and some of its teams have taken steps to discourage such displays. But Nike’s recent decision to use Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign has thrown a new spotlight on the issue.
Kaepernick's protests of racial injustice began in the summer of 2016 with sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem, and those actions helped launch the later protests across the NFL. No team signed him as a free agent in 2017 or 2018, and he has filed a lawsuit claiming that team owners conspired to keep him out of the league.
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DeFries wrote that, “The outpouring of support the Beef ‘O’Brady’s family has received over the past year for taking a stand proves one thing. The majority of the American people is on the side of freedom. We’ve received tens of thousands of visits, emails, and letters from patriots in all fifty states. Donations accompanied hundreds of those letters.”
“By not showing NFL games this season once again, we won’t have the associated $7,400 (expense) the NFL charges to broadcast the games. That means we’ll have even more money available to donate to good causes in our community that pay tribute to the American Veterans heritage and legacy.”
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“If you believe the American Flag and National Anthem mean something, then this football season, I encourage you to put your money where your mouth is. Donate money to or volunteer for Veterans causes.”
“Thank you to all of you who stood with us last year as Beef ‘O’Brady’s stood for America. I’m looking forward to seeing you stand with us again this year. God bless.”
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In the months after making the announcement last year that he would not carry NFL games, DeFries filed petitions to run as a Republican for the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. DeFries’ announcement is unexpected, given the buzz around his campaign. His campaign launch in January 2018 drew Republican state representatives Niraj Antani, Jim Butler, Mike Henne and Jeff Rezabek as well as state Sen. Peggy Lehner and former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.
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But in March, DeFries dropped out of the race, saying he was “expected to chase donor dollars and primary voters” and “realized my political journey is a detour away from authentic conversations and real grassroots transformation.”
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DeFries’s stance also has spread. In early August 2018, a franchise co-owner of a Beef ‘O’Brady’s in Florida told Fox News he had decided to cancel its DirecTV NFL package over the controversy and “disrespect” that NFL players showed in kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustices.