On Sunday night, in a show of solidarity with protesting NFL players nationwide, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to stay off the field until after the American national anthem, which prompted a known Trump supporter to hurl a severe racial slur at the team’s coach, Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers players were playing in Chicago and were subjected to a spectrum of commentary from fans, some in support, others in condemnation and anger.
But, according to CBS Pittsburgh, one particular fan was so furious he decided to take it out on the African-American coach, Mr. Tomlin.
A chief at a local fire station in the town of Cecil in Pennsylvania, Paul Smith, took to Facebook to express his ire at the actions of the Steelers. That’s when coach Mike Tomlin became the victim of a racially motivated verbal diatribe posted onto Smith’s social media account.
“Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good N*****s. Yes I said it.”
Smith’s racist reaction to the coach was ironic, as the purpose of the current wave of NFL protests is to bring attention to the disparities between how black people and white people are treated in America. More specifically, how police brutality allegedly disproportionately affects African-American communities.
Nevertheless, the public outrage at Smith’s statement has been swift and stern, especially from Cecil locals. Dylan Pareso said, “I’m completely upset, especially for a town like this, coming from the fire chief, that’s disrespectful in my eyes. I don’t agree with it one bit.”
Another resident, Mary Plumley, believes that “for a fire chief or for anybody like that to say something like that is wrong. They don’t need to be in that position.” While neighbor Janet Vickers said “it’s not good. No, I don’t like it at all.”
“It’s kind of a dumb thing to do,” said Wes Leopold of Smith’s Facebook post. “I think, there’s enough tension in this country. He’s definitely adding to it.”
Meanwhile, Paul Smith is allegedly currently on vacation abroad but has managed to issue a statement to the media despite his absence.
“I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing the anthem. This had nothing to do with my Fire Department. I regret what I said. My fire department should have never been dragged into this. It was a bad judgment by me, for which I am very embarrassed, for them and my township.”
— KDKA (@CBSPittsburgh) September 26, 2017
The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors has issued their own statement to confirm that they are “deeply disturbed” by Smith’s comments, and “in no way, shape or form condone his comments.”
“In that the volunteer fire departments are independent entities, the board suggests contacting the president of the Muse Fire Department regarding any further comment or action.”
[Featured Image by Ron Schwane/AP Images]