A Pennsylvania fire chief came under fire for his racist rant about Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin before having to issue an apology because he “embarrassed” himself, KDKA reports.
Paul Smith, the chief of a volunteer fire department in Cecil Township, lashed out at Tomlin after the Steelers stayed in the locker room during the national anthem following Trump’s attacks on players who kneel in protest during the Star-Spangled Banner.
Smith wrote on Facebook that Tomlin “just added himself to the list of no-good ni**ers” over the decision to stay in the locker room.
Stunned residents spoke out against Smith’s hateful Facebook post.
“I’m completely upset, especially for a town like this, coming from the fire chief, that’s disrespectful in my eyes. I don’t agree with it one bit.” Dylan Pareso, who lives right across the street from the fire station, told KDKA.
“For a fire chief or for anybody like that to say something like that is wrong. They don’t need to be in that position.” said local resident Mary Plumley.
Smith quickly realized he made a big mistake and issued an apology through the news station.
“I am embarrassed at this,” he wrote. “I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing the anthem. This had nothing to do with my Fire Department. I regret what I said.”
“My fire department should have never been dragged into this. It was a bad judgement by me, for which I am very embarrassed, for them and my township.”
The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors issued a statement saying they were “deeply disturbed” by Smith’s comments.
Tomlin said after Sunday’s game that he made the decision to stay in the locker room as a team to not let “divisive times or divisive individuals” affect their game after President Donald Trump unleashed an attack on black athletes protesting racial injustice.
“We will not be divided on this,” Tomlin said. “We got a group of men in there that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, creed, ethnicities and religions, and so forth. That’s football. That’s a lot of team sports, but because of our position, we get drug into bull—-, to be quite honest with you.”
“Some have opinions. Some don’t,” he added. “We wanted to protect those that don’t. We wanted to protect those that do. We came here to play a football game today and that was our intention.”
Trump took to Twitter Monday to insist that his obsession with the protesters has nothing “to do with race” despite the fact that former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick sparked league-wide demonstrations to protest the treatment of African-Americans by police.
Trump is calling for his supporters to boycott the NFL unless the league mandates that players stand for the anthem. Not only is it a battle he can’t possibly win, his attacks have been a boon to the movement started by Kaepernick. A week before Trump’s rant, just nine players in the NFL kneeled during the anthem. On the Sunday following Trump’s attack, more than 200 players protested and every team came together to display unity in the face of a hateful, petty, and downright racist president.