Since NFL players started participating in mass protests against the national anthem, businesses have been pulling back their support of the NFL, even at a financial loss.
Bill DeFries, the owner of a Beef O’Brady’s restaurant, said he experienced a $6,000 hit to his bottom line after announcing he’d no longer show NFL games at his restaurant, according to Independent Review-Journal. Yet he was surprised when customers began flooding the restaurant, bringing more business than he’s ever had.
DeFries is a Marine veteran who owns a Beef O’Brady’s restaurant in Ohio. According to DeFries, the NFL was a part of the restaurant experience on Sundays. “We are a family restaurant, and we have been for 13 years. And our customers are from the community. They come in here to relax and enjoy a meal and be entertained, in particular by the NFL on Sundays.”
Yet the recent NFL boycott of the national anthem deeply offended DeFries. “I have to tell you as a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I served to defend our country’s Constitution and free speech, and while I defend the right of every American to express their views and voice this freely, the actions demonstrated by the NFL players during the country’s national anthem – it was offensive and disrespectful to me as a proud veteran and all my fellow veterans.”
He was also concerned that many of the military veterans who eat at his restaurant were similarly offended, “…we also serve a lot of local military families and veterans, many of whom share my view on the NFL players’ actions during the national anthem.”
DeFries said he met with his management team to assess the situation and see what the effect of a boycott would be: “Before making this decision, I met with the leadership team to ensure we were all aligned on the issue, and we were. We knew that our sales would be negatively impacted.”
Sure enough, DeFries’s restaurant was hit with a financial loss when he attempted to secure a refund from DirecTV for his NFL subscription package.
According to USA Today, shortly after the protests, DirecTV announced it would offer refunds for the NFL Sunday Ticket package for its customers who were offended by the protests. It was one of the first companies to deal a blow to the NFL, as subscribers, TV ads, and TV ratings are a key component of their revenue stream.
Yet DeFries said because he’s a business and not a residential customer, he was expected to pay the fee for the cancellation, a whopping $6,000.
Restaurant owner paid $6000 to cancel NFL games. Then his neighbors stepped up to support him. Do you support your patriotism with your pocketbook?
But the fee has already proven worth it as customers began pouring through the doors, said DeFries. “Every day our sales have been up between 200 and 300 percent. People we have never seen before are driving hours to support us and the employees. We have received heart-warming and supportive phone calls, emails, and direct messages from people all over the United States thanking us.”
DeFries said he was pleasantly surprised by the large display of patriotism, “It turns out the enormous amount of pride and reverence that we have for the national anthem and everything that it means to us as a free people… is shared by the vast majority of Americans.”
The NFL players can claim their protest was to unite the American people and show respect for their country and their values all they want, but it’s never going to be true. True unity and respect for the US is shown by patriotic men and women who respect and honor the national anthem and recognize it as a ceremony meant to express that patriotism and not a platform for pettiness.