Kaepernick jersey taped to floor by Virginia Beach bar patrons, regular says

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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.

Colin Kaepernick's football jersey was taped to the floor of a Virginia Beach bar last week. (Courtesy: James Perry)
Colin Kaepernick’s football jersey was taped to the floor of a Virginia Beach bar last week. (Courtesy: James Perry)

“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.

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Adrienne Mayfield is an award-winning, multi-media journalist hailing from Clermont, Fla. She moved to Lynchburg, Va. on a whim when she was 19, and worked her way to Hampton Roads in 2013. Adrienne is passionate about telling people stories via covering public safety and the judicial system. She isn’t afraid to take a heads-on approach to covering crime, including knocking on doors to get the details police aren’t sharing. Adrienne is a 2014 Old Dominion University graduate who still lives within walking distance of the college. You may see her cruising around Downtown Norfolk on her bike, enjoying a sandwich from Grilled Cheese Bistro or playing fetch with her dog, Greta, at the Colonial Place dog park.