The owner of a Lake Ozark, Mo., bar says his doormat that spells out “Lynch Kaepernick,” a black former NFL quarterback, is “not a race thing.”
Jason Burle, the owner of S.N.A.F.U Bar, was offended by the criticism he’s facing, according to Ozarks outlet KOMU.
“A lot of people want to twist it around to be a race thing,” Burle told KOMU.
His homemade doormat was created by taping two jerseys side-by-side on the ground outside his bar. He used the jerseys of Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders and former QB Colin Kaepernick.
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Taylor Sloan of Kansas City was in the Ozarks last weekend and saw the jerseys Saturday night, repelling him from the bar, but not before he captured photos.
“It saddens me to see that kind of behavior, albeit out of ignorance or not,” Sloan told The Star. “This is bigger than me or him. It’s about racism so systemic that some don’t even acknowledge it happening, or disguising it as patriotism, which in their mind is absolute.”
Sloan said the jerseys have since been switched so that they now read, “Kaepernick Lynch.”
Burle did not reply to requests for comment. Messages can no longer be sent to his bar’s Facebook page.
In August 2016, Kaepernick remained seated during the national anthem before a 49ers preseason game.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people, and people of color,” Kaepernick said at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street, and people getting paid leave, and getting away with murder.”
In subsequent games, he began to kneel during the anthem.
This past weekend, after more and more players started joining Kaepernick’s silent form of protest, President Donald Trump called for NFL owners to fire ‘any son of a b----’ who doesn’t stand during the anthem.
Shortly thereafter, Sloan saw Burle’s new doormat.
In a now-deleted post on the bar’s Facebook page, Burle or a bar staff member wrote that people judging Burle for the doormat had never stepped foot in the bar, implying they were hypocrites for stereotyping him while charging him with racism.
Some on Facebook called out Burle’s doormat as advocating for a form of violence that long served to oppress and silence black people.
Others said Burle’s actions, if unchecked, contribute to incidents like what happened last month in New Hampshire, when an 8-year-old boy was taunted with racial epithets and then hanged with rope from a tire swing, according to the Washington Post.
The boy survived, but his family said what happened to their son, who is biracial, was racially motivated.
The incident at S.N.A.F.U. Bar comes a few weeks after a Missouri lawmaker called for hanging vandals of a Confederate monument at the National Veterans Cemetery in Springfield.
Many said Rep. Warren Love, an Osceola Republican, was alluding to lynchings and racial violence when he said he hoped the vandals were hanged “from a tall tree with a long rope.”
As an explanation for his post, Love said, “I’m a western man. I’ve worn boots and hats all my life. ... I’m apt to say anything in an analogy.”
Later, he apologized for the remark and when reached Thursday told The Star that he did not mean to allude to lynchings in his post, despite many interpreting it as such.
Love called the bar’s jerseys “absolutely terrible.”
“We need to try to get some togetherness and quit this divisiveness,” he said. “It just breaks my heart.”
A Missouri travel advisory, issued in early August, marked the first time an NAACP conference made one state the subject of a warning about discrimination and racist attacks.
Missouri became the first because of recent legislation making discrimination lawsuits harder to win, and in response to longtime racial disparities in traffic enforcement and a spate of incidents cited as examples of harm coming to minority residents and visitors, NAACP leaders said.