A Lake Ozark, Mo., bar owner is under scrutiny after a passerby called out his makeshift doormat as racist.
The doormat in question is made out of the jerseys of NFL players Marshawn Lynch and Colin Kaepernick and is taped down on the bar’s front step, where customers can take the pleasure of scrubbing their feet. Fair enough. However, it’s the order in which the jerseys are arranged that has raised some eyebrows.
Of course, the owner of the S.N.A.F.U. Bar, Jason Burle, swears that his choice of doormat is not about race but, instead, is about standing up for himself and his family, many of whom, he says, served in the military (and, which, once again, has nothing to do with the protest against racial injustice for which Kaepernick is known, but I digress).
“It’s not a race thing,” Burle told KOMU-TV. “A lot of people want to twist it around to be a race thing.
“We pulled them out of the box, taped them down. There was no ill intent,” he added. “If someone thinks that I mean personal harm to someone, they don’t know me.”
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It was Taylor Sloan who saw the jerseys and started an online conversation about the matter.
“That’s not the Missouri I know,” Sloan told the news station. “It just kind of upset me really bad. Put a bad taste in my mouth.”
Sloan posted to the bar’s Facebook page, prompting a heated back-and-forth between him and Burle.
“You are also expressing hate, violence and continuing American racism under the faux guise of patriotism,” Sloan insisted.
“It’s funny to me that someone would look that far deeply into it just to find a racist link,” Burle responded.
Burle, who served six years in the Air Force, said that seeing NFL players kneel during the playing of the national anthem did not sit well with him.
“A lot of us military folks take that personal to heart,” he said, pointing out that he started the bar to honor veterans.
“It was kind of our way to give back, I guess,” he said. “We give discounts to veterans, we have a hall of heroes inside. We have flags that have flown overseas mounted inside.”
Burle said that if Sloan had come inside and told him or the bar’s manager, the issue would have been rectified immediately. And Burle actually did take the time to rearrange his makeshift doormat, which now reads “Kaepernick Lynch.”
“I commend them for what they’re doing, as far as the right goes. I fought for that right,” Burle said of the protesting athletes. “The same thing that gives them that right gives me the right to place these out here.”
Read more at KOMU-TV.