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Colin Kaepernick Inspires Two Chicago Bars to Boycott NFL

The bars won’t show football until Kaepernick signs

San Francisco 49ers v Miami Dolphins
Two Chicago bars are boycotting the NFL to support Colin Kaepernick.
Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick still hasn't found a team willing to give him a job and a pair of Chicago bars near Soldier Field — home of the Bears — won't show NFL games on their TVs until someone signs him. Kenny Johnson owns both bars in question: Velvet Lounge (67 E. Cermak Road) and The Bureau Bar (75 E. 16th St.). He says he’ll figure out something else to do during football Sundays.

Johnson supports Kaepernick’s work — the quarterback’s donated money and held youth workshops to bring awareness to racial injustice and police brutality towards people of color. The bars’ actions come as the NAACP wrote a letter to the NFL to address the situation, and as a Wednesday rally in front of the NFL’s headquarters in New York brought out about 1,000 Kaepernick supporters. Meanwhile, other athletes are joining his cause.

Boycotting football is no simple task for a bar. Many Chicago bar and restaurants rely on the season to draw customers to put their budgets in the black. Sports have a dramatic impact on business. West Loop bars were hurt in 2012-13 when the NHL season snarled due to a labor stoppage.

Critics of the bar have emerged on Facebook with one commenter writing: “This is a bad business decision but you are free to make it. Just don't expect Colin to support you when you lose money on Sundays and Mondays.”

Johnson told DNAinfo that despite any loss of business, they’d be OK. He felt they had a moral obligation to support Kaepernick.