How NJ bar is honoring Veterans Day: Banning the NFL
FARMINGDALE — Instead of showing NFL games, a Monmouth County tavern's 20 screens will be dark on Sunday during Veterans Day weekend.
The idea to turn off football for a day came from both a veterans group and customer and veteran Andy Barcellona.
"About two weeks ago, I was having lunch in Woody's Tavern in Farmingdale and asked to speak to the manager. I explained to Chris, who is a partner, that I was a veteran and would like to see on Nov. 12 that they not show any NFL games in respect for the Veterans Day weekend," Barcellona told New Jersey 101.5.
After considering the idea, the bar on Academy Street decided to not only tune out the NFL, but host a concert by John Stevens and Willie Kelly of the New Jersey-based country group After the Reign. Woody's will also donate 20 percent of food sales to the Green Beret Foundation through Special Forces Association Chapter 19.
Rob Johnson, a co-owner of Woody's Roadside Tavern, told New Jersey 101.5 that Special Forces holds its monthly meeting at Woody's and had discussed the disrespect veterans feel they have received.
"We're 100 percent behind our veterans. We're going to take a stand. It may hurt us a little business-wise but we felt like it's worth it in the light of the community to do the right thing. It's more important than trying to make every dollar available to us," Johnson said.
Woody's has every NFL game available on Sunday and Johnson, himself a big football fan, said the reaction from his regular customers has been great.
"The reaction's been, 'Hey, we're going to come out there Sunday and support the cause and support Woody's, because we really believe in what you guys are doing.'"
Support for the one-day blackout may come from fans at Woody's telling Johnson they are "fed up" with the controversy this season of players taking a knee during the national anthem.
"Everyone's entitled to protest. That's one of the greatest things about our country, freedom of speech. But they really feel like these people who play in the NFL are privileged people. They make a ton of money. The veterans are out there everyday affording us that freedom, and for them to show that disrespect really turned off a lot of people," Johnson said.
Johnson said many small business owners have told him they've given up their season tickets and aren't watching games because of unhappiness with the NFL.
Johnson sees the day as a way to "rejuvenate our love for our country and our flag and our veterans."
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