Several Oxford sports bars have claimed they will not follow the footsteps of the Mugshots Grill & Bar in Tupelo, which recently decided to stop airing NFL games due to protests during the national anthem.
The manager for the Mugshots Tupelo location, Jason Simmons, stated on the restaurant’s Facebook page why it chose to make the decision.
When asked to comment further, Simmons declined.
The post has received more than 3,000 likes, 700 comments and 4,288 shares at the time of publication. The graphic has sparked robust discussion, much of it critical.
The general manager for the Mugshots Oxford location, Mitchial Skipper, said he agrees with the restaurant’s stance but thinks it could be a poor business decision.
“Do I personally support the NFL and their decisions? No,” Skipper said. “As a business, though, I definitely have to look out for my customers’ satisfaction instead of my own.”
Skipper plans to continue airing NFL games.
“We have had customers come in who want to talk about it,” Skipper said. “However, not a single person has said, ‘I’m not coming here because you air the NFL.’ That hasn’t been the case.”
Mugshots Grill & Bar has 18 locations throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. Each is independently owned, and the choices made by individual locations do not reflect the views of other Mugshots locations.
Other sports bars in the Oxford area have taken notice of the controversial decision.
Andy Smith, a bartender at Bacchus On The Square, said the restaurant wants to maintain customer satisfaction and doesn’t believe playing NFL games will affect the business.
“In my personal opinion, I think we should keep it on,” Smith said. “Even with all of the controversy going on — sitting down during the anthem and stuff like that — it’s all personal opinion, and I don’t see anything wrong with viewing the games.”
Walker Lewis, assistant manager at Soulshine Pizza Factory in Oxford, said he thinks airing NFL games will not affect his business.
“To my knowledge, no one in Oxford has complained about Soulshine airing NFL games,” Lewis said. “I don’t believe we have plans to stop showing the games.”
Oxford’s Buffalo Wild Wings also plans to continue airing NFL games.
Carmen Dixon, an employee at the Oxford location, said she believes refusing to air the games could negatively affect business.
“The majority of our customers come here to watch football,” Dixon said. “We rely too heavily on people coming in to watch games, eat wings and drink beer.”