The owner of S.N.A.F.U. Bar in Lake Ozark, Mo. is under scrutiny for a new look in the entrance to his establishment. After NFL players kneeling during the national anthem took news by storm over the weekend, the owner, Jason Burle, made a change.
Colin Kaepernick was the first to protest racial and social injustices during the national anthem last season. Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch has sat during the anthem this season and says he has done so in the past as well.
In front of S.N.A.F.U. Bar, both players' jerseys have been taped down as dormats for patrons to step on before they enter. Facing next to each other, the jerseys originally read "Lynch Kaepernick."
“It’s not a race thing,” Burle said to KOMU.com. “A lot of people want to twist it around to be a race thing.”
Burle ordered the jerseys out of anger from players kneeling during the anthem and doesn't see how people can see his decision to be demeaning.
“We pulled them out of the box, taped them down. There was no ill intent,” Burle said. "If someone thinks that I mean personal harm to someone, they don’t know me."
One passerby by the name of Taylor Sloan took immediate offense when walking by the bar.
“That’s not the Missouri I know,” Sloan said. “It just kind of upset me really bad. Put a bad taste in my mouth.”
The two engaged in a heated Facebook exchange. Sloan believes Burle was expressing "hate, violence and continuing racism." Burle, who spent six years in the Air Force, says he started his bar to honor the military, gives veterans discounts, and feels disrespected by the protests.
“A lot of us military folks take that personal to heart," Burle said.
In their battle on Facebook, Sloan was baffled that Burle didn't see what was wrong with placing a "Lynch" jersey and "Kaepernick" jersey next to each other. Burle has since changed the order of the jerseys, but is not getting rid of his home-made doormat he believes respects the American flag. When it comes down to it, Sloan sees NFL players' rights, yet vehemently disagrees with how they are expressing their freedoms.
“I commend them for what they’re doing, as far as the right goes. I fought for that right,” Burle said. “The same thing that gives them that right gives me the right to place these out here.”