A Missouri bar owner, offended byhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/video/sports/a-bar-owner-uses-nfl-jerseys-as-doormat/2017/09/28/3f209998-a490-11e7-b573-8ec86cdfe1ed_video.html the sight of NFL players taking a knee or linking arms during the national anthem Sunday, promises that race had nothing to do with the two NFL jerseys taped together to be used as a doormat outside his establishment.

The jerseys that were plucked from a box happened to be those of Marshawn Lynch and Colin Kaepernick, which meant that the message patrons received was “Lynch Kaepernick.” Lynch, the Oakland Raiders’ running back, sat in protest during the national anthem Sunday, and Kaepernick is a free agent who started the practice of raising awareness of police brutality and social injustice by refusing to stand for the anthem when he played for the San Francisco 49ers. Both Lynch and Kaepernick are African American.

“It’s not a race thing,” Jason Burle, owner of the S.N.A.F.U Bar in Lake Ozark, Mo., told KOMU in Columbia, Mo. “A lot of people want to twist it around to be a race thing.”

The jerseys were taped to the pavement outside the entrance to the bar. “If someone thinks that I mean personal harm to someone, they don’t know me,” he told reporter James Packard.

Taylor Sloan saw the jerseys and posted on the bar’s Facebook page (via KOMU): “You are also expressing hate, violence and continuing American racism under the faux guise of patriotism.” Burle replied: “It’s funny to me that someone would look that far deeply into it just to find a racist link.”

People posted on both sides of the issue on KOMU’s Facebook page. One user wrote: “Everyone in this country needs to get some thicker skin. Everyone has hurts [sic] feelings over something. I’m so sick of seeing people trying to find something to complain about. If you don’t like something look the other way. If you don’t believe in something someone else is doing then don’t pay attention. What happened to if you don’t have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. With all the other problems going on in this world we need to be united with each other and stop complaining about stupid little things. I looked at the post at first and did not see what they where talking in the picture tell [sic] I start reading the story. But someone can make something out of nothing.”

Another wrote, “This is tacky and intentional. Missouri is turning out to be really disappointing.”

According to data compiled by the nonprofit Equal Justice Initiative and released in July, there were 60 lynchings of African Americans in Missouri between 1877 and 1950, making it the state with the second-highest number of lynchings outside of the South. Oklahoma was the leader with 76. The EJI calls them “public acts of racial terrorism intended to instill fear in entire black communities.”

By Tuesday afternoon, Burle, who said he spent six years in the Air Force and started the bar to honor veterans, told KOMU he had switched the jerseys around.

“I commend them for what they’re doing, as far as the right [to kneel] goes. I fought for that right,” Burle said. “The same thing that gives them that right gives me the right to place these out here.”

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