An Alabama grocery store is refusing to sell some Pepsi and Gatorade drinks until the National Football League logo is removed.
Phillip Stewart cited the “disrespect” over protests during the national anthem just as Sunday saw Panthers safety Eric Reid take a knee during the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Stewart pulled the drinks sporting the NFL logo from his S&Z Grocery gas station store in Athens, Alabama, posting a message on Facebook.
“This may cause me to lose some business, but here goes. S&Z supermarket currently will not be selling 20 ounce Pepsi or Diet Pepsi,’ he wrote on Facebook. ‘These two items are currently produced with the NFL logo on them. I refuse to sell the product until the logo is removed.”
“I will not bow down in order to the make a dollar as long as the athletes are allowed to bow down and disrespect the flag and country that I love.” he added.
Pepsi and Gatorade bottles are set to sport the logo until the Super Bowl in 2019.
“I don’t want to support them in any way, because I feel like it’s just wrong. I can’t in good conscience sell the product because it does have the logo on it,’ Stewart told WAFF.
‘I pulled them myself, the customers didn’t know I was doing this. I sold the product that I had that did not have the logo on it. And I told my rep as well as the delivery guy that I did not want those brought into the store because I would not sell them,’ he said.
He explained that while he supports the cause of protesting social injustice, he does not believe the national anthem is the right vehicle to accomplish this.
“The cause is just. I think there are other ways to deal with it. This has brought attention to it I’m sure there is good that comes from this, I just don’t agree with the tactic,” he told WHNT.
‘This helps me sleep at night. I can sleep knowing that I’m not supporting somebody that’s doing something I don’t believe in,” Stewart said.
“I’m just trying to not really make a statement,” Stewart told WAAY. “I just don’t want to support anything dealing with the NFL. If I see 3 minutes of a game, I feel guilty. I get up and turn the TV off or go outside. I can’t watch it.”
Stewart’s effort got mixed reactions from customers.
“Do I personally care? No, I don’t. I’ll grab a Pepsi, I’ll hit my Nike golf clubs. That will make some people mad, but I’ve got other things to worry about,’ former Marine Aaron Bishop told WHNT.
“I stand behind S & Z 100%, and I hope other people support him and pull together,” Susan Riggs countered.
The debate unfolded online with some Twitter users tired of the controversy and claiming Pepsi would not even feel any repercussions.
— maxiesmama (@maxiesmama) October 15, 2018
irony: in pulling the product of the shelf this store owner has give Pepsi MILLIONS of dollars in free publicity for the product he isn’t selling. I don’t think Pepsi minds.
— Millard Bunson (@millardbunson) October 15, 2018
Pepsi says…. pic.twitter.com/zFUqJ94TX8
— KB…Stay Awake…Resist (@krbisme05) October 15, 2018
Others, however, applauded the store owner.
YESSS!! Continue to #BoycottNFL
— jewelz (@love_JMJ_love) October 15, 2018
If I lived near that store I would support him
— Leonard Carrillo (@LeonardCarril11) October 15, 2018
If I lived there I would go to his store!????
— Thomas Benyo (@BenyoThomas) October 15, 2018
Good for them?
— Betty Cooksley (@bdcooksley) October 15, 2018
Bravo!! Glad you are standing up for what is right! You are supported!????????❤️
— Kim for Trump (@AnnieGi27543668) October 15, 2018
Good for him. Maybe more businesses will start disassociating from the NFL.
— Old Gin (@BadBird66) October 15, 2018