HOUSTON – Bar owners refuse to purchase DIRECTV NFL Sunday Ticket, as a protest to a league they believe has become too political.
Owners of Henry Hudson’s Pub in Northwest Houston took to Facebook to post their thoughts on the debate over national anthem protests.
The statement can be read here.
We reached out to the owner’s for comment and they initially chose not to elaborate on the post. But after our story aired Thursday night, owner Jim Adair issued the following statement:
When we first approached the business for comment, they were surprised to know the post had gained so much interest.
Hundreds shared the post, with many supporting the company for taking a stand on a controversial issue. Scroll through the comments and you’ll read plenty about how privileged NFL players are and how it’s time to force athletes to be more patriotic.
The comments, while they appear to support the pub, are doing the very thing the original post was trying to avoid.
The post criticizes the NFL and the media for their continued use of “these games as a way to further divide our country.”
In 2016, it was Colin Kaepernick who began sitting in protest of the treatment of black people by law enforcement. Others later adopted the message and began protesting for reform to a broken prison system, disproportionately incarcerating black men.
Kaepernick has not played for an NFL team since and that alone sparked even more protest from players concerned that Kaepernick was being blackballed by league owners.
Twice during the post, the owners make it clear this is not about the message and what the athletes concerns are. If they choose to protest, that is their right as citizens. Instead they raise the question, can football go back to just being entertainment?
As far as Matt Ivy, owner of Olympix Sports Bar has known, football is everything. When he heard that a nearby bar was turning down the sport, it was hard for Ivy to imagine.
“It’s on from August until February, so it’s a huge thing,” Ivy said.
Ivy has heard the rumors of fans protesting, but says for a new business like his, he can’t afford to lose out on the revenue. The games draw crowds for as many as four days out of the week.
Vanessa Neang owns Max Donuts and says protests won’t affect her decision to watch the games.
“That’s where everybody is at. They’re wanting to go out and have a good time with a bunch of following fans,” Neang said.
Taking a stand or taking a knee, comes at a cost. At least for Hudson’s, they want the league to know, “if it doesn’t change soon, this will be an NFL free zone.”
We did hear from one employee who says they may still air some games broadcasted locally. When we asked why, they answered that they would be “crazy not to.”