Lake Ozark, Missouri’s SNAFU Bar has gotten a lot of criticism in recent days, after a Facebook user called the establishment out for creating a “Lynch Kaepernick” doormat with the jerseys of NFL players Marshawn Lynch and Colin Kaepernick next to each other.
According to a report from HuffPost, the furor started on Sunday when a man named Taylor Sloan noticed the homemade doormat and took to Facebook to comment about what he felt was an unprofessional, racist gesture from the bar.
“There’s a reason why the NAACP issued a travel warning for Missouri,” wrote Sloan.
“Pretty obvious the lack of professionalism at this bar. You lost my business the moment you decided to showcase this kind of behavior.”
Sloan’s comments got the attention of SNAFU Bar owner Jason Burle, who identified himself as someone who comes from a “long line of veterans” in his family. He explained that he created the “Lynch Kaepernick” doormat because he feels strongly about NFL players whom he believes disrespects the United States and its flag. This was followed by a comment from another Facebook user, who agreed with Sloan said that she will not do business with the bar because the doormat seems to glorify lynching.
Speaking in defense of himself and his bar, Burle told NBC affiliate KOMU on Tuesday that his decision to place the doormat was “not a race thing,” and that a lot of people are twisting his actions to make it appear as such. He also reiterated that he ordered the Marshawn Lynch and Colin Kaepernick jerseys for the doormat in response to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.
“If someone thinks that I mean personal harm to someone, they don’t know me,” said Burle, who served for six years in the U.S. Air Force.
While Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem gained a lot of attention in the 2016 NFL season, Lynch drew his share of controversy last month, as he kicked off his comeback after a brief retirement from pro football. As noted by HuffPost, Lynch sat during the national anthem in his first preseason game of the 2017 season. The Oakland Raiders running back declined to comment on his actions, but his coach, Jack Del Rio, told USA Today Sports that Lynch has been sitting out the national anthem for the past 11 years as a player.
Meanwhile, the “Lynch Kaepernick” doormat outside the SNAFU Bar has since been rearranged to read “Kaepernick Lynch.” Sloan believes the reordering of the NFL players’ jerseys is a welcome move for the bar, but stressed in an interview with HuffPost that it doesn’t change his belief that the doormat is offensive in nature, and that the issue has a much wider scope than a few people taking offense toward the actions of one business owner.
“It saddens me to see that kind of behavior, albeit out of ignorance or not. 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.”
[Featured Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]