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Northern Virginia bar owner: No more NFL games shown here until protests stop

The owners of a longstanding Fairfax bar and grill are garnering a good bit of social media attention—both positive and negative--as a result of a recent Facebook post that states their displeasure with the NFL’s handling of recent protests of the National Anthem by players.

On Sept. 26, R.L. Butler, owner of Fat Tuesday’s--which has been located in Fairfax’s University Mall on Braddock Rd. since 1982—posted on Facebook that due to the protests, the local bar will no longer be showing any NFL games.

“As proud parents of an active member of the U.S. Army and a veteran of Afghanistan, we stand on the side of our brave men and women in uniform, not the men in sports costumes that take a knee and disrespect our country, our National Anthem , our military and our veterans,” the Facebook post states.

“We place a much higher value on our great country [than] on any sporting event. Therefore, we will not be showing any NFL games at Fat Tuesday’s until there is a stop to this foolishness.”

The post is signed “R.L. & Karen Butler.”

Since it was published Tuesday afternoon, the post has received nearly 1,000 “likes” as well as nearly 200 “shares” and close to 400 comments--some in support, many in opposition.

“Fantastic decision,” wrote one commenter.

“Thinking NFL players are ‘protesting the flag’ is like thinking Rosa Parks was protesting public transportation,” wrote another, re-stating a popular meme.

“It shows disrespect to the flag and I don’t even think they know what they’re protesting,” R.L. Butler said in a phone interview. “I think the NFL did a poor job of responding to this and allowing it to keep going further.”

Butler says he and his wife have a daughter actively serving in the Army and that they support the troops, pure and simple.

“I did this out of principle and what I believe,” he said. “I think of veterans that are in wheelchairs who would give anything to stand for the National Anthem and can’t, and now there are the protesters who are disrespecting the very flag they fought and sacrificed for. That’s why I did it, and I believe there are many Americans who feel the same way I do.”

As for all the attention his post is now getting, Butler says he does not plan to back down or be pressured to apologize. “I jumped in, and now I guess I’m just going to have to learn how to swim,” he said.


The silent, kneeling protests were against police brutality and the oppression of black people. Trump escalated the situation to further divide the country & to distract the public from his failed presidency. He muddied the original intent of the protest to suit his own purposes. Now both players & owners feel compelled to show support for or against Trump’s comments and for or against their fellow players’ right to protest during the anthem. Now football fans are protesting the protest. Service members & their family are weighing in on whether the freedoms they fought for also include free speech. And do you give up your right to free speech while on-the-clock? Very clever, Trump. That’s how dividing the country is done! We’ve gone from a handful of players silently protesting to involving the entire NFL, the fans and the public at large. There are so many different displays during the anthem I can hardly keep track and nobody knows what they mean. What exactly is standing in a line with arms locked supposed to convey? Sitting? Standing but no hand over the heart? The bar owner simply took the bait that was dangled by Trump. He’s the person eating up the so-called “red meat” Trump throws to his supporters. This week the “red meat” is the NFL player protest. Next week it will be something else.

I’m an actual vet…not the parent of one…and I can assure you this bar owner does not speak for me.  What a presumptuous character.  Glad I’ll never have to frequent his establishment.

As a veteran I agree the players have a right to protest.  However, I don’t believe they have the right to protest while on the clock for their employer.  Unfortunately, the NFL did not put this in their rules like the NBA.  If they worked for a private company I’m sure they would be unemployed by now.  And really, the term SOB, is a pretty good term when 855 NFL players have been arrested since 2000.  215 are DUIs and 99 are drug offenses just to name a few. At 32 teams with 53 man rosters that’s only 1696 players a year.  For such a small group of people that’s a lot of arrests.  We all have to take a stand for what we believe in.  Yes, it might possible hurt the revenue of the business.  What is for sure if the NFL will take a major revenue hit due to the lack of leadership from the owners and Roger Goodell.  This will cost them a lot of money to fix.

the world can be divided into 2 types of individuals:
-those who are strong enough and secure enough to tolerate criticism and dissent
-those who feel weak and unable to have their values challenged

the first group understands that America changes and they must change with it to perfect the country. 

the second group is fearful that change will lessen them and will not embrace it.

Are you weak or strong?

Thank you John M and other veterans who are clarifying that THEY, the veterans are being ‘spoken for’ by non-vets. Many veterans understand the principle behind the kneeling. And yes, if Trump had paid attention to his job (and maybe showing his tax returns),this would not have been so blown up. Soldiers fight for our ability to free speech etc.

First off, John M. I thank you and all service men and women for their service.  I have several family members that have and do serve in our armed services and give them the utmost respect. I agree that it is their right to peacefully protest in kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, and they are kneeling for a reason.  To be a part of the solution we should be asking, what can we do to get them standing again with hands over hearts and honoring the flag.  Everyone has rights, just like the restaurant owner who will not be showing the games.  I also believe that the President has purposely started this, before he call just a few players (at the most 20 players) SOB, the protest was really drawing no attention.  Now he has divided the nation and now the protest will continue and even grow the more Mr. Trump.

Let’s Make America Great 4 Everyone

Thank you John M. for your service!! And for stating so beautifully what so many feel but can’t properly express.

I never heard of this resume but will be there Sunday for lunch

Good for these people sticking up for what they believe and not pandering to Millionaire cry babies who feel life is unfair to them. From an old Infantry grunt 11B, The flag and the anthem mean everything to me and “this we’ll defend”.

Restaurants are night and weekend businesses.  Hamstringing yourself by cutting out Sunday morning/afternoon bar sales seems…foolish.  I’d figure that this will turn away a lot of minority customers too but maybe this is exactly what the Butler’s are going for.  Good luck with this plan!

I’m a Navy veteran, I spent some time in the Persian Gulf, my ship actually rendered aid to the USS Stark when it was hit by a missile. I’ve participated in burials at sea for military men both young and old and the flag means an awful lot to me. When I hear the national anthem and when I look at our flag, I stand at attention with my hand over my heart. The thoughts that run through my mind are about the people who came home under that flag, or those who continue to fight for the freedoms we enjoy today. I realize for many people, the anthem and flag are just a song and a piece of cloth- as I’ve been reading a lot online. So, I’ve fought for this country and one of the rights I’d like to think I had a hand in protecting was our first amendment rights to free speech, so when I see people kneeling during the anthem, I do not care, this is their right and some of them have their reasons. Do I like it? No, but nobody should care if I like it or not, it doesn’t matter. Do I believe that everyone who is taking a knee is doing so for valid reasons? No. I believe some of them are, I believe many of them are conflicted about doing it but they believe they are making a statement, while others, I believe, are just getting their faces on TV or going along with the program. My challenge to those people would be simple: Do more.  Do more than take a knee and then forget about the issues. Do more than pat each other on the back after the anthem and think you’ve accomplished something. Go to your local police, talk with their leadership and try to open an honest dialogue with them. Go into your communities and talk with young men and women, give them advice and counsel, share your experiences, don’t just sign a bunch of autographs and think you have accomplished anything. Do more. I heard the Dallas Police Chief literally begging for young black men to come in and apply for jobs- take those jobs! If you see a problem, be a part of the solution, not just someone who complains about it.
Finally, as I said, I have no problem with NFL players taking a knee, just as I have no problem with people turning off the NFL and ripping up their tickets, or owners not signing a player- rights go both ways. I don’t see kneeling quietly as a sign of disrespect and so far I’ve only seen one player who I think crossed a line: LeSean McCoy from the Buffalo Bills, who decided he would jog in place, stretch and make jokes during the anthem- that angered me, but he has a right to do that….I wish I had the right to punch him in the nose.
Finally, we have forgotten that we live in the greatest nation on earth- no matter what color you are, you have it better here than anywhere else. I’ve traveled the world in and out of uniform and every time I come home I am very thankful to be home. We need to stop, breathe and appreciate the freedom we enjoy.

By not showing any football games, the restaurant will entertain fewer patrons. This sounds like a good business decision.

And I thought just the players were petty - now the bar owners too.

Way to go and good for you!  Stop this foolishness!

They know exactly what they’re protesting.

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