LUGOFF, SC (WIS) - A restaurant owner in Lugoff says he will continue his boycott against the NFL through Super Bowl weekend, marking the first NFL season customers at Dave's Place are unable to watch any of the league's games.
David Pettinelli, the owner of Dave's Place, is a veteran and said he put up a large sign in front of his restaurant to let people know how he feels about the ongoing protests.
"I didn't do it for debate, I did it because I felt it was the right thing for me to do," he said.
Driving by Dave's Place in Lugoff, you'll see a large NFL logo with a red slash through the middle, signifying Pettinelli's feelings of how the NFL is handling players kneeling during the national anthem.
"It really hasn't hurt my business," he said. "It was something that actually attracted people to come in and they shake my hand and say thank you for supporting our flag and our community."
Pettinelli said his restaurant will be closed Sunday during the Super Bowl.
"I don't even watch NFL games at home," he said. "My brother came over to watch a Pittsburgh game and I told him 'sorry, but you can't watch that here.'"
Gin Walden, a customer at Dave's Place, said the sign doesn't bother him and he believes business owners have a right to express their views however they choose.
"I'm an individualist, I believe whatever my heart feels," he said. "It's freedom of speech. Everybody gets the right to make a decision. It's harming emotions, it's not really harming people physically so it's whatever you feel."
Walden said he's not an avid fan of the NFL but plans on watching the Super Bowl on Sunday.
"If you stand, you stand," he said. "If you kneel, you kneel. Let's just get the game going."
Stoney Wages is also a customer at Dave's Place who spent 35 years in the Army and served three combat tours in Vietnam. He appreciates the large sign out front and shares the same sentiment.
"People should kneel at church," he said. "You need to stand for the flag because that's our nation, we're Americans, it's the unity of the U.S. and its territories. If you can't take 20 or 30 seconds of your life to be respectful - that's a shame."
Wages said when the protests began, he called his cable provider and asked for all professional football channels to be removed from his service.
"These players are hired to entertain the nation and the people who go to the games," he said. "They weren't hired to do their political stuff during the game."
Wages said he might entertain the idea of watching the Super Bowl but will not continue to watch regular season games until he sees the NFL adjust its policies.