An Arkansas firefighter is out of a job after he wrote on Facebook that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be shot in the head.
The man, who has not yet been identified, wrote that President Donald Trump “should post snipers at every game” and fire their weapons at any player who refuses to stand for the anthem.
"[E]ach player that takes a knee or sits in the lockerroom should b (sic) shot in the head,” the man wrote, according to ActionNews5. “[I] have no sympathy for them and no respect and as for the rest of u obama lovin snowflakes out here protesting and making idiots out of urselves u should b shot on sight…”
Both ActionNews5 and The Commercial Appeal wrote that the fire department did not identify the person it fired — but the outlets included screenshots of the Facebook comment they said came from the ousted firefighter.
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John Buford, assistant chief of the Earle Fire Department, wrote in a Facebook post for the department that the former firefighter was let go because of comments he made on social media.
The controversial remark comes after hundreds of NFL players knelt for the national anthem this weekend before the start of NFL games, according to Time.
The protests drew condemnation from many, including an informal adviser to Trump who also brought up gunshot wounds to the head as a potential response to kneeling players.
Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor on Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board, said NFL players should be “thanking God” they don’t live in North Korea.
If they did, he said, they would be probably be “shot in the head.”
“I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong,” Jeffress said Monday on Fox and Friends. “These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea.”
Jeffress —who said God has given Trump “full power” to wage war against North Korea a few months ago — said he stands by his comments “within their full context.”
“If any member of the press doubts this fact, then I would encourage them to take a trip to North Korea themselves, publicly shame Kim Jong Un and then see what happens,” he said, according to Yahoo. “All of us should thank God every day that we live in a country where we do not have to fear government persecution for expressing our beliefs.”
And Paul Smith, a volunteer fire chief for the Muse Fire Department in Cecil Township, Pennsylvania, apologized after it became public that he called Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin a “no good n-----” for his part in the Sunday demonstrations.
“I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize,” he wrote in a statement to WTAE. “I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing for the Anthem. My FD had absolutely nothing to do with this. I am deeply regretful at what I posted.”
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started this trend of political activism when he knelt during the anthem last year to make a statement about racial inequality, according to the Independent.
This season, Kaepernick has been unable to land a job with a new team, leaving some to question if his protest soured any chances of playing again. But the sparks of his protest spread like wildfire this weekend after Trump said at a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should fire any “son of b----” who doesn’t stand during the anthem.
Some teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, didn’t come out on the field during the anthem, while others allowed players to either kneel or stand with locked arms, according to Time. Accompanied by owner Jerry Jones, on Monday night players for the Dallas Cowboys knelt before the anthem and stood with locked arms during it.
Julius Thomas, who always stood for the national anthem until this Sunday, said he didn’t kneel to disrespect the flag or service members, a common criticism from those who oppose protests during the ceremony.
Instead, Thomas said he knelt to send a message about racial inequality in America.
“To have the president trying to intimidate people — I wanted to send a message that I don’t condone that. I’m not O.K. with somebody trying to prevent someone from standing up for what they think is important,” he said, according to The New York Times.