A Massachusetts city official resigned from his position Monday after he referred to several New England Patriots players who knelt during the national anthem as "monkeys" in an online forum.
Stephen V. Pina was a volunteer for Brockton’s Parks and Recreation Commission before Mayor Bill Carpenter, who appointed Pina to the position, asked for his resignation Monday, The Enterprise reported. Carpenter called Pina’s remark “insensitive and racial” and said it was “unacceptable and offensive.”
Pina came under fire for commenting on an article posted on Boston 25’s Facebook page. Pina wrote: “Turds, your dumba-- isn’t paid to think about politics… dance monkey dance.”
Carpenter received Pina’s resignation before Carpenter was slated to meet with the NAACP, 11 Alive reported.
Pina also coached a Pop Warner team in the city but was forced to step down Monday due to the comment. The Brockton Junior Boxers, the city’s youth football league, released a statement regarding the incident.
“We have received an overwhelming response from parents, community organizers, and other members of the community sharing their disappointment and disapproval of Mr. Pina’s actions,” the statement said. “We have heard you, we respect your thoughts, and we will be asking Mr. Pina for his resignation today.”
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Providence, where Pina is employed, was also "conferring with general counsel" to decide an "appropriate course of action," The Enterprise reported.
“Management is aware of the comments and is reviewing appropriate actions, but it would be inappropriate to speculate about what those actions might be at this time,” a spokesperson for the Veterans Affairs office in Providence told The Enterprise. “I can say that the comment in question is obviously offensive, whatever the intent, and is in no way representative of the Providence VA Regional Office and our employees who work tirelessly every day for the benefit of our veterans.”
Pina told The Enterprise he did not believe his comment was racist.
“I don’t think I thought of it in that way,” Pina said. “At heart, it wasn’t intentional. It wasn’t meant to be that way.”
Pina said he “got sucked into the social media outrage” surrounding the national anthem protests more than 200 NFL players participated in, but he believed his comment was “blown out of proportion.”