RACINE — A co-owner of a popular lakefront restaurant advocated for the killing of kneeling NFL players in a Facebook comment posted Monday, according to multiple screenshots circulating on social media.
The owners of Reefpoint Brew House, 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway, acknowledged the comment from fellow co-owner John Valko in a statement released on their Facebook page Tuesday evening.
In the comment, which has been deleted but appears as a screenshot multiple times in the comments on the statement, Valko advocates for the killing of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem before games, something more than 200 players did Sunday.
“Kill the idiot players,” Valko wrote. “Execute them. They are nothing but garbage. The league is screwed up if they think it is their right. It is their duty to respect our country and our flag. They should go kneel in front of a freight train. Shame on these stupid misfits of society. They need to die.”
Reached for comment Tuesday, Megan Bennett, one of three other co-owners along with Tom and Patti Landreman, said that the three other co-owners “disagree” with Valko’s comment.
“They are in no way, shape or form the beliefs or reflections of Reefpoint Brew House,” Bennett said.
In Tuesday’s Facebook statement, the owners distanced themselves from Valko’s comment.
“It has been brought to our attention that one of our co-owners has made some statements that some people will find offensive,” the message reads. “His statements do not represent us or the Brew House and we disclaim knowledge of, responsibility for, or association with those statements completely.”
Backlash in the comments on the restaurant’s statement ranged from calling the statement “pitifully inadequate” and “cowardly” to advocating for a boycott of the restaurant.
Many of the commenters also noted that the restaurant issued the same statement earlier Tuesday, only to delete it and repost it, thus getting rid of the original comments.
The responses led the owners to post an additional statement on Facebook Tuesday night. In the new statement, they wrote that the previous statement was posted at the recommendation of their attorney, but that they realized it “came off too light.”
“We co-owners of Reefpoint Brew House STRONGLY DISAGREE with all statements, posts, comments, etc. that have been posted by John Valko,” the statement reads. “Those statements are no reflection of the beliefs and values that we or Reefpoint Brew House hold. We are working internally to resolve these issues and deeply apologize for the actions and statements that have been made.”
The owners added that they are “doing everything internally to disassociate ourselves and our business with John Valko.”
Bennett said she and the other owners had no additional comment as of Tuesday evening.
Valko did not respond to a request for comment.