Leominster Bar Dumps NFL Games, Citing Patriots’ Anthem Protest



LEOMINSTER (CBS) — Mike Cooley, owner of the Monument Tap in Leominster, is fed up with what he sees as the disrespect of the national anthem and the U.S. flag–especially by NFL players, and especially by the Patriots.

So next weekend, Cooley says there will be no NFL games on the bar’s TVs.

In the Facebook event for “Pass on the Pat’s, no NFL games,” Cooley wrote, “The Patriots and the NFL decided to “take a knee” and insult our Veterans and our country.”

“I just figured it was time to try to pull the community together and say that everybody lives under one flag, everybody’s supposed to be united in this country,” Cooley told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker. “So that’s why I figured, we’ll take the day off from the NFL and we’ll have a nice patriotic day here.”

In place of the games, there will be patriotic music, complimentary food, and free American flags at the Central Street pub.

“Instead, during the daytime, we’re going to have a patriotic concert,” Cooley said. “We got a piano player coming in with a lot of patriotic music.”

Cooley’s decision comes as the nation is embroiled in a battle over NFL players protesting inequality and police brutality during the playing of the national anthem–spurred on by President Donald Trump’s comments calling for players who kneel during the anthem to be fired.

But Cooley says his decision isn’t about politics or Trump.

“It’s a symbolic gesture mainly to go off not so much on the NFL or if people want to loop in President Trump in it, it has nothing to do with politics,” Cooley said. “It’s just I’ve watched our flag and our national anthem get disrespected for so long, and it just happens to be during the NFL games.”

Cooley said that most of the comments on social media have been positive. There has been some negative feedback, including death threats–though Cooley chalks that up mostly to bluster.