Local bar not worried about impact of NFL protest during national anthem


NEW BERN, Craven County - NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has been a hot-button issue in the past week.

Debate has raged on both sides and there's now a national boycott scheduled for the weekend of Veteran's Day. However, one sports bar that relies heavily on those Sunday and Monday NFL games isn't too worried what may happen next.

"Everybody was definitely watching to see what team would do what, how people would react, how fans would react," said Casey Aylward, owner of Half Time Pub & Grub in New Bern.

At one point, the most entertaining part of an NFL game was the game. Lately, what seems to have the attention of many are the actions that take place before kickoff.

What started as a peaceful protest from former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has turned into a league and nationwide protest of taking a knee during the national anthem. The protest is meant to call attention to police brutality and racism. With the protests and mixed reviews behind it, some fans have decided to give up watching the NFL entirely.

Aylward said on any given Sunday, his sports bar is filled with football fans.

"Our capacity is 106, so we probably have 106 people in here," Aylward said.

He said he feels that number won't drop as the season continues.

"This last Sunday we were full, we were at capacity all day," Aylward said. "People were watching the games, people were talking about it but people were still here rooting on their teams."

Some businesses around the country have decided to stop airing football games because of the protests. Aylward said starting at 1 p.m. each Sunday, you won't have to worry about what's on the television at his business.

"You guys are going to continue playing football games, right," Aylward said. "'Yeah for sure, that's our business."