Pastor Allen Joyner, of the Sweet Home Baptist Church in McKenzie, Alabama, reportedly called for the shooting of people who refuse to stand for the national anthem while announcing a high school football game on Sept. 9 .
Facebook user Denise Crowley-Whitfield quoted the announcer as saying: "If you don't want to stand for the national anthem, you can line up over there by the fence and let our military personnel take a few shots at you since they're taking shots for you."
According to Crowley-Whitfield, who later deleted her Facebook account, the audience responded with "crazy cheering."
Joyner's relatives and friends identified the announcer as Pastor Allen Joyner, notes the Alabama Media Group. The church issued a defense on Facebook (that page was also taken down):
We stand by our pastor and are proud of him. What was said was taken out of context and misquoted several times over. For all our members, remember the words of Matthew 5:38-39 and don't try to retaliate or fight any of the negative comments. Anyone who has anything negative to say on our page will be banned and ignored.
According to Bible Gateway, Matthew 5:38-39 reads: "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."
Butler County Schools Superintendent Amy Bryan told the Alabama Media Group via email: "Patriotism should be a part of school events but threats of shooting people who aren't patriotic, even in jest, have no place at a school. Threats of violence are a violation of school policy and certainly not condoned by the school board."
Bryan does not know if there will be any action against Joyner, but said the school board plans to meet next week.
Joyner did not comment to the Alabama Media Group.
The refusal to stand during the national anthem began with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a protest against police violence perpetrated on black people. The protest has spread to other players, and some members of high school teams, notes AlterNet.