A restaurant owner who has pledged not to air NFL games while players protest during the national anthem says business has been up — a lot.
Bill DeFries, owner of Beef O’Brady’s in Beavercreek, pledged last week not to air or stream NFL games during the protests in which athletes take a knee or link arms during the playing or performance of the national anthem.
The Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals stood and locked arms during the anthem before their game in Cleveland Sunday — but Beef O’Brady’s customers didn’t see that. One Bengals player apparently attempted to kneel, but no one joined him.
“Every day our sales have been up between 200 and 300 percent,” DeFries said Sunday. “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, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, first told this news outlet of his decision. But since then, he and his stance have made national news, appearing on Fox News, the Sporting News, the Washington Times and elsewhere.
“I feel good, but it’s not about me,” DeFries added. “It has less to do with me now than it has to do with we. 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, and I’m seeing it firsthand.”
Sunday’s NFL games began at 1 p.m. While most NFL players have stood, a number have kneeled or raised their fists.
In a recent CBS News poll, when respondents were asked: “Do you approve or disapprove of football players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem?” — 52 percent said they strongly or somewhat disapprove, while 38 percent said they strongly or somewhat approve, and nine percent said they weren’t certain.