Alabama

Grocer says football players ‘disrespect’ flag. So he won’t sell Pepsi with NFL logo

A history of national anthem protests in American sports

From the Black Power Salute during the 1968 Olympics to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, here's a look at some notable anthem protests in American sports.
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From the Black Power Salute during the 1968 Olympics to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, here's a look at some notable anthem protests in American sports.

An Alabama grocery store owner says he will stop selling Pepsi products with the NFL logo until the league stops allowing players to “bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love.”

Phillip Stewart, the owner of S&Z Grocery in Athens, Ala., made the announcement in a Facebook post Wednesday. Pepsi is a major sponsor of the NFL this season.

“This may cause me to lose some business, but here goes. S&Z supermarket currently will not be selling 20 ounce Pepsi or Diet Pepsi. These two items are currently produced with the NFL logo on them. I refuse to sell the product until the logo is removed,” Stewart wrote.

“I pulled them myself, the customers didn’t know I was doing this. I sold the product that I had that did not have the logo on it. And I told my rep as well as the delivery guy that I did not want those brought into the store, because I would not sell them,” Stewart said, according to WAFF.

Some NFL players have been protesting police brutality and systemic racism by kneeling during the National Anthem before football games, drawing both praise and criticism. The protests were sparked by player Colin Kaepernick, who recently re-entered the spotlight as the face of a new Nike ad campaign.

The protests have angered President Donald Trump, who has called for players to be fired for kneeling during the anthem and has attacked the NFL for allowing the protests.

Stewart supports the cause behind the protests, but wishes the players would do it some other way, WHNT reported.

“The cause is just. I think there are other ways to deal with it. This has brought attention to it. I’m sure there is good that comes from this, I just don’t agree with the tactic,” Stewart said, according to the station.

He also said he was not pulling the products out of anger, or to make some sort of political statement. He said he just felt guilty.

“I’ve really been disgusted with the professional athletes’ handling of the situation. I’m just trying to not really make a statement,” Stewart said, according to WAAY. “I just don’t want to support anything dealing with the NFL. If I see 3 minutes of a game, I feel guilty. I get up and turn the TV off or go outside. I can’t watch it.”

He said pulling the Pepsi “helps me sleep at night,” according to WHNT.

His original Facebook post received more than 100 comments, with some saying they supported the idea and some staunchly opposed to it.

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