The owner of a Cincinnati bar who banned NBA games until superstar LeBron James is "expelled" from the league said reaction to his ban has been "overwhelmingly positive," the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"The support for the position has been overwhelmingly positive and has far outweighed the negatives," Jay Linneman, who runs Linnie's Pub, told the paper.
The paper said a gas station a few miles from Linneman's establishment placed text on an outdoor sign that reads, "Hey LeBron, the West Side thanks you. Linnie's has never been busier."
Linneman added to the Enquirer that more customers have been coming in since his ban — but that he doesn't want the spotlight on him: "I hope people channel the support to law enforcement and not necessarily to Linnie's Pub."
What's the background?
James made headlines earlier this month after he tweeted, then deleted an image purportedly of a Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot a black teenage girl, along text reading "YOUR'E NEXT #accountability."
However, bodycam video shows Ma'Khia Bryant was swinging a knife at others before the trigger was pulled.
After Linneman's ban announcement, James responded the next day on Twitter: "Aww Damn. I was headed there to watch our game tonight and have a drink! Welp."
James received a ton of backlash over his tweet apart from Linneman's ban:
- Former President Donald Trump said James' "RACIST rants are divisive, nasty, insulting, and demeaning."
- TheView's Meghan McCain ripped James' for "putting that police officer's life in danger."
- Jake Bequette, a former New England Patriots player turned Army Ranger, called James' tweet dangerous and warned that leftism has "taken over" much of American life.
- An ex-football player and cop called out James' hypocrisy, specifically for "living on a high horse" in a "multimillion dollar house" around "nothing but white people."
- Fox Sports commentator Marcellus Wiley, a former NFL player, blasted James for being "irresponsible" and added, "Dog, you can't do this."
- A 24-year veteran officer with Los Angeles police posted on open letter on Facebook inviting James to learn about "the reality of the profession of policing."
- A police officer was seen mocking James in a viral video in which he pretends to respond to dispatch by saying he needs to conference with James before he acts.
In a previous interview with the Enquirer, Linneman said he was tired of athletes who use their platforms to advocate for certain issues: "They just need to play the game and that's it. Their opinion doesn't really matter. They're using their position to push their opinions, and that's just not right."
The Enquirer added that the contact section on Linnie's website includes a link for those who feel the need to "use vile or threatening language" — and it directs to a website with five searches relating to hell, including "Will God forgive me."
In addition, the contact page shows a response box at the bottom that reads, "In order to reduce hateful, spiteful, racist comments please answer YES in the box below if you support and appreciate the efforts of our brave men and women of law enforcement."
The bar's website further requires people to type "yes" to the question if they support law enforcement in order to leave any comment.