Area restaurant boycotting NFL games draws large crowd

The owner of Beef O'Brady's restaurant in Beavercreek said he had a large crowd Thursday night following his declaration that he will not air NFL games while players protest during the playing of the national anthem.

“The response was just remarkable last night. We had people coming in that had never been to our restaurant,” said Beef O’Brady’s owner Bill DeFries, who estimated the eatery did three times the business it normally does on a Thursday night.

The Green Bay Packers played the Chicago Bears Thursday night on prime time TV, but not in DeFries’ restaurant.

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DeFries, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, announced Wednesday that he respects the right of NFL players to voice their views. But he believes the national anthem is the wrong setting for protests, and he contends he has a right to voice his own disapproval.

For a short time period, DeFries said the restaurant had a waiting line.

“People were patient and really showed their gratitude. Again, it was just remarkable,” DeFries said.

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Players from the Bears and Packers linked arms before Thursday night’s playing of the national anthem to express solidarity with their fellow players.

DeFries said he will do it indefinitely until NFL players can have a conversation among themselves and “maybe even include President Trump.”

“For three minutes at a time, people should come together to show their support this country,” DeFries said.

A family from Miamisburg attended the restaurant on Thursday wearing T-shirts with a photo of a Marine. DeFries said the couple's son was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.

“I approached them at the entrance and they told me the story about their son. It’s a touching story. We had a short cry together and they told me they supported my decision,” DeFries said.

His stance has gained national recognition and people began sending checks to the restaurant to help pay employees who may be impacted by the stance. DeFries said a man from Georgia called and said he would be driving the Peach State to eat at the Beavercreek eatery.

Instead of airing NFL games, DeFries said he will offer a 50-percent discount to all active-duty military and veterans on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays during all NFL games.

Beef O’Brady’s is located restaurant at 3347 Seajay Drive in the Beaver Valley Shopping Center.

DeFries has owned and overseen Beef O’Brady’s restaurants in Centerville and Beavercreek for a total of nearly 14 years. He sold the Centerville location five years ago.

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