After President Donald Trump attacked NFL players and told team owners to fire players who refuse to stand up during the U.S. national anthem, scores of people came out in support of the players and took a knee in solidarity.
However, after the hate-mongering comments, there are many who do support Trump and are responding negatively to the growing movement.
John Valko, co-owner of Reefpoint Brew House in Wisconsin, said on Facebook that NFL players who choose to “take a knee” should be executed.
“Kill the idiot players. Execute them. They are nothing but garbage. The league is screwed up if they think it is their right. It is their duty to respect our country and our flag. They should go kneel in front of a freight train. Shame on these stupid misfits of society. They need to die,” he said in the now-deleted post.
After he made the controversial comments, the post went viral on social media. Following widespread criticism, Valko offered an apology.
“Today, I offer up my sincerest apology to every person, near and far, my wife, my family, my friends, Tom Landreman, Patti Landreman, Meagan Bennett and all the employees of the restaurant that have been hurt by words I used,” Valko said.
And just like our president claims, Valko also said his comments about the NFL players had nothing to do with race.
“Many are suggesting the comments were directed at people of color. Be assured that is absolutely and positively not true. I accept responsibility for these comments. I was wrong to have even let a thought such as this be put into text and I am ashamed. They were offending and terrible words. I am deeply and regrettably sorry,” he wrote.
Co-owners of the restaurant, Tom Landreman, Patti Landreman and Bennett, later confirmed that Valko is stepping aside from the bar and separating him from the ownership of the bar is still in process.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that people have come out against the #TakeAKnee movement.
Recently, people filmed themselves burning all of their NFL gear to express their disdain for the protest. These so-called ex-fans shared clips of their actions on social media under the hashtag #BurnTheNFL.
In another incident, Southern Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress, a conservative pastor on Trump’s informal evangelical advisory council, made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” and said players who choose to kneel down during the national anthem should be “thanking God” they haven’t been “shot in the head.”
People who are opposing the #TakeAKnee movement need to understand and rethink what they are fighting and standing against. By protesting and giving hate-filled comments about them, they are proving that to them a mere movement, which was started against racism and police brutality, is a bigger threat than racism.
Peaceful protests are every person’s right and attacking people who silently register their protest can never be justified.
Spotlight: Reuters, Brian Spurlock