Alabama Football Announcer Who Called For National Anthem Protesters To Be Shot Resigns

The Alabama high school football announcer who suggested to a crowd that if they don’t stand for the national anthem, they deserve to be shot, has resigned, the Birmingham News is reporting.

Pastor Allen Joyner stirred up controversy — and support — last week when, before a high school football game (where he was working the announcer’s box), he made an eyebrow-raising suggestion to the crowd regarding standing for the national anthem.

“If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they’re taking shots for you.”

It was an ordinary, early-season football game between Houston County High School and McKenzie High School in Butler County, Alabama, Friday night, September 9. But there was nothing ordinary about the performance of the national anthem that night: the song — and one’s choice to stand or not stand for it — has been a subject of strong emotions and heated debate ever since August 26. That was the day that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was photographed remaining seated during the national anthem; an act Kaepernick said was in protest of police brutality and his refusal to give his tacit approval to a country that, he believes, has oppressed, and continues to oppress, black people.

Joyner, who is also a pastor at nearby Sweet Home Baptist Church, wasn’t having any protests of the national anthem, and he made his feelings about it known that night. Denise Crowley-Whitfield, a fan of the opposing team, wrote on Facebook, in a post that has since been deleted (in fact, her entire account has been deleted, according to the Birmingham News), about how the crowd went wild when they heard Joyner’s words.

While the crowd may have liked it, Joyner’s words weren’t so well-received once the news of his remarks went national. Facebook users, looking for a place to vent their anger, took their complaints to the Facebook page of his church, as well as an unrelated church with a similar name, to express their displeasure.

Joyner insisted that he was misquoted.

“I never said anybody should be shot. My words were, ‘If you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, please go sit at the baseball field and let some of our folks take a shot at reminding you of the price the military paid for your freedom to sit.’ I never advocated violence of any kind.”

Misquoted or not, Butler County Schools Superintendent Amy Bryan made it clear that she doesn’t want high school football announcers advocating for violence — or even giving the appearance of advocating for violence.

“Patriotism should be a part of school events but threats of shooting people who aren’t patriotic, even in jest, have no place at a school.”

Now, it seems, the debacle over Joyner’s words has moved beyond a Friday night football game and dragged himself, his community, his family, the school that employed him, and two churches into the mix, in front of the whole country. He has had enough; in an email to Butler County Schools, Joyner tendered his resignation.

“Please do not take this as an admission to being wrong. My family, my church and my school have suffered because of the misquote; therefore, I choose not to continue to put them under more scrutiny from people who don’t know me.”

Do you think Alabama pastor Allen Joyner was right to resign from his high school football announcer job because of his remarks about the national anthem?

[Image via Shutterstock]

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