WOW Cafe & Wingery in St. Bernard Parish, LA, has decided to take a stand against the NFL’s kneel.
Owner Brook Songy Anastasiadis posted on WOW’s Facebook page that the restaurant would not be airing Sunday’s Saints vs. Panthers game. In her post, she cited the team’s decision to kneel as the reasoning.
“I apologize to all of our guests but we will not be viewing the Saints game today in house. Some of our local players chose to sit during the National Anthem, which will not be supported or praised at WOW. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Thank you,” Anastasiadis wrote.
Her decision sparked a wave of backlash and praise on social media.
One person offended by the restaurant’s choice wrote on Facebook, “You fail to understand the real issue. It's not about the military or the flags. Don't you think these very men have military members in their families that they honor and respect. Shame on you for avoiding the real issues. You will never get my business.”
While another felt the eatery should not be participating either way, “WOW and you have the right to do so but as a restaurant you shouldn't be making political statements people pay you to eat and watch sports not be subjected to your political opinions.”
Though there were many supporters.
One wrote on Facebook, “No Apologies needed I’m very disappointed in the New Orleans Saints that you would take part in sitting down for the national anthem you are totally disrespectful.”
Another said, “We chose to no longer spend our money on anything related to the NFL again, ever. However, we will be frequenting your restaurant. BRAVO.”
Following the responses the restaurant received, Anastasiadis issued a follow-up statement through WOW Cafe, defending her decisions to not display the game.
“I stand behind my decision and I want to make this clear, the sole reason that I didn’t air the game is because I feel the players disrespected the National Anthem and that is something I hold dear to my heart. That’s how I was raised, I have family members who served our great country in the military and I was taught to respect the National Anthem, the flag, the military and people in general,” she said.
A spokesman for Anastasiadis, Ray Sutherlin, said it was not her intention to “start a firestorm, she simply did what she felt was right.”
The spokesman furthered defended the franchise owner, saying “the players exercised their right not to stand for the National Anthem and she exercised her right not to air the game because of their actions. The freedom goes both ways.”
“We won’t ever all agree on these sensitive topics and I understand that,” Anastasiadis said before concluding, “I strongly believe in the support of our country, our flag, the military, the National Anthem and I always will.”
Anastasiadis is not the only restaurant owner choosing not to show the game. Borio’s Restaurant in New York has reportedly also refused to show NFL games because of the kneeling controversy.