Trickle Down Backlash: Pittsburgh Steeler Store Hammered by Boycott [VIDEO]

Trickle Down Backlash: Pittsburgh Steeler Store Hammered by Boycott [VIDEO]

An on-location interview at the Steel City Sports store in Rockvale Outlets describes the recent hit taken by the owner, Susan Moedinger, who now struggles to sell her Steelers merchandise.

Susan describes the store she’s been running for the past four years that sells local sports paraphernalia, including the Penguins and the Pirates, as well as University of Pittsburgh merchandise. This past Sunday, Susan said that she missed the first part of the Steelers game so she didn’t realize that there would be such an issue. This Monday, one of her staffers called her, asking for advice on how to answer both the concerns and threats of customers. Living only five minutes away, Susan went to the shop and discovered the issue:

The Steelers with one notable exception had sat out the National Anthem on game day.

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Susan said that she found out that the team had “elected to take themselves out of the political picture and try to remain neutral,” except for Alejandro Villanueva, who “inched his way toward the flag” during the anthem. She says that people are conflating two different issues: one of veterans and respect for the flag, with Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racial injustice. “Now these two are together… it’s going to be really hard to separate them.”

She said she isn’t “terribly political,” but she is still the target of a boycott due to the actions of others. When asked to clarify the “threats” she had received, she said it was mostly in regards to shopping at the store. Customers, who had previously purchased items, came in person to say that they were never going to shop at her store again. She said social media was “constant” with “back and forth” about the store’s role in the controversy, with false claims that the shop was hiding Villanueva jerseys because Susan and her staff were said to be anti-American. “That’s the part that mystifies me,” that her American pride would be called into question because of the actions of professional football players.

When asked about Villanueva’s change of heart with his action during the anthem, where he described his embarrassment at the photos of him standing for the flag, Susan said that her customers have had strong opinions, but the shop is still dead. She said that sales for the Penns are still doing fine, but that she’d like people who express their opinion to the NFL and the teams instead of her as a neutral business owner who doesn’t want to politicize her private business.

In a final comment, she said that she loves when the Raven fans come in with trash talk and she enjoys the sporting aspect of sport, and to not let politics divide the fans.

Margaret M.

Internet Specialist at Warfare Media.

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