Comments made by restaurant co-owner John Valko that the NFL players who kneeled in protest during the National anthem should be killed have rippled through Facebook.

Valko owns the Reefpoint Brew House with Meagan Bennett, and Tom and Patti Landreman.

After over 200 NFL players kneeled during the National Anthem Sunday to protest comments made by President Donald J. Trump, but Valko called for those NFL players to be killed. 

Read more about why the NFL players kneeled.

“Execute them,” he wrote on Facebook.”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.”

Since then, Valko removed the statement from his Facebook page. Racine County Eye reached out to him, but he said he was not available for comment.

Fiona Murphy, a community activist, said that Valko’s comments should be “universally condemned,” but that the other business owners deserved an opportunity to respond to those comments.

Bennett, Tom, and Patti initially distanced themselves from Valko’s statements.

“We are owners of the Reef Point Brew House. It has been brought to our attention that one of our co-owners has made some statements that some people will find offensive. His statements do not represent us or the Brew House and we disclaim knowledge of, responsibility for, or association with those statements completely.”

A public outcry ensued because some readers did not feel the response went far enough. Murphy pointed out that there was no “outrage” over Valko’s comments.

“In fact, there is no actual condemnation. No outrage that their business partner called for the deaths of Americans. Just a tepid disassociation. This is beyond disappointing,” she said.

Even after the making a second statement, many commenters continued to call for a boycott. Some came to the defense of Bennett, Tom, and Patti.

Kelli Kauers Smythe seriously? you all are blaming the other owners for his comments??? They have no control of his mouth!

Armando Flores No they don’t but they have total control over their response. And their response is a weak statement compared to Valko’s sick, violent post.

Hours later, Bennett and Tom and Patti continued to denounce Valko’s comments saying they don’t want anything to do with Valko.

“We strongly disagree with what John Valko posted — all of it. What he said and how he said. It does not reflect our beliefs in any way,” Patti said. “We don’t want to be associated with him as a partner. This is our livelihood and he is destroying it because he can.”

Patti said she was personally sickened by Valko’s statements.

“It’s unacceptable and it’s not who we are,” she said. “We need to get out of this partnership and we don’t want anything to do with him anymore.”

Love what we do?

In addition to our education features, we’ll be kicking off a series of stories highlighting how parents, students, and educators are adapting to the impact of COVID-19 on education. If this is important to you, please consider donating to our education reporting fund. https://business.facebook.com/donate/1846323118855149/3262802717172659/

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.