A bar in New Jersey turned off NFL games Sunday opting to hold a fundraiser for veterans instead.
In honor of Veterans Day, Woody’s Roadside Tavern in Farmingdale held a special concert and donated proceeds to pro-veteran charitable groups.
The bar’s owners told Fox & Friends Monday they decided on the move after a customer who is a veteran proposed changing the channel on Sunday.
“We thought about it, and we thought it was a great idea,” co-owner Chris Maltese said.
“It was a phenomenal day, super busy. We had veterans driving from hours away just to be part of it,” added co-owner Rob Johnson. “The veterans find a great sense of comfort being around one another.”
Maltese indicated the decision wasn’t about being political.
“We’re not trying to be political here, we’re just trying to support our veterans,” the co-owner told the Asbury Park Press. “I think people are looking to have some kind of voice in the whole NFL thing… and this is their voice.”
Footage from Woody’s shows patrons of the packed-out bar singing the national anthem in unison.
A flyer for the event proclaimed the bar would “not be broadcasting any NFL games,” and featured a crossed-out NFL logo.
The risk paid off, according to the owners, as the bar, restaurant and outdoor deck filled with hundreds of patriotic Americans.
Maltese said 20 percent of the bar’s earnings that night would be donated to three organizations, including the Green Beret Foundation and the Special Forces Charitable Trust.
— Asbury Park Press (@AsburyParkPress) November 13, 2017
The bar’s move comes as the National Football League has been accused of disrespecting veterans as players take cues from former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling during NFL games amid Star Spangled Banner performances.
In all, three NFL players – two 49ers and one New York Giants player – knelt during Sunday’s games.