It wasn’t the bar, but the patrons, who taped Colin Kaepernick’s jersey to the tile floor of Krossroads, said bar regular John Wallington.
Wallington, a nearly 35-year veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, added that the action had nothing to do with racism and everything to do with patriotism.
“A large percentage of the clientele are associated with the military,” Wallington said. “Standing for the national anthem is taken seriously. When someone disrespects that people get upset.”
For those who haven’t been paying attention to Fox News, the New York Daily News and CNN, Virginia Beach self-proclaimed military bar, Krossroads, came under fire earlier this week for allowing Kaepernick’s jersey to be taped to the floor of the bar’s entrance.
Kaepernick is the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who refused to stand during the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice.
National outrage followed a Saturday Facebook post by James Perry, a 40-year-old Virginia Beach man who went to Krossroads on Sept. 22 to have lunch with his 14-year-old daughter Brianna Eason.
While Perry was offended by seeing the jersey used as a floormat, he was infuriated by the pain it caused Brianna.
Ultimately, it was setting an example for his daughter that led Perry to post on Facebook a picture he took of the jersey. The image went viral, with the original post shared more than 6,300 times by Wednesday.
“The bar had the right to do it… You have a public place, and you cater to the public. You should not do anything to offend a patron,” Perry said in a Wednesday interview with Southside Daily.
But Wallington and his Krossroads compatriots don’t feel the same way.
Wallington said he knows the Krossroads patron who taped the jersey to the floor. That person was formerly a 49ers fan and a Kaepernick fan – but no longer.
“This is a military town,” Wallington said. “What’s accepted in San Francisco is going to be taken differently here.”
Wallington said Krossroads is a diverse bar that was managed by an African American man until a few days ago when he was offered a better job, independent of the jersey media explosion.
The jersey had been taped to the floor, with the bar’s permission, for a week before Perry posted its picture on Facebook, Wallington said.
He added that in that time many patrons, including African American ones, stepped on Kaepernick’s jersey without complaint.
“There’s no racial component to it whatsoever,” Wallington said. “Kaepernick is disrespecting people of color who have served in the armed forces.”
Perry said where Krossroads bar patrons see patriotism, he sees racism.
“Patriotism is the new racism,” Perry said.
“If it had been a police jersey they wouldn’t be yelling freedom of speech. They would be outraged,” Perry added. “When you step on that jersey, you’re not only stepping on him. You’re stepping on his cause.”
Mayfield can be reached at 352-431-9612.