The fallout has continued after the Pittsburgh Steelers game on Sunday and the team’s decision to stay in the tunnel at Chicago’s Soldier Field during the national anthem.
The fan reaction has been mixed from support for the players to outraged fury over their decision.
But in one Washington County town, some say Paul Smith, the chief of Cecil Volunteer Fire Station #2, posted a derogatory response on Facebook, which directed a racial slur at Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.
In the post, Smith wrote: “Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good N*****s. Yes I said it.”
Reaction to Smith’s post in Cecil Township was quick and overwhelmingly negative. Dylan Pareso, who lives across the street from the fire hall, said, “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.”
Smith has since apologized, saying “I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing for the Anthem.” He went on to say, “My FD had absolutely nothing to do with this. I am deeply regretful at what I posted.”
The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors responded Monday saying it is “deeply disturbed by the comments made by Volunteer Chief Smith, and in no way, shape or form condone his comments. In that the volunteer fire departments are independent entities, the board suggests contacting the president of the Muse Fire Department regarding any further comment or action.”
Later, on Tuesday, the township manager issued a statement announcing that Smith would no longer serve as the chief of the Muse Volunteer Fire Company.