PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The fallout continues 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 one fan’s response may have crossed the line.
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, negative, and lead to his removal as chief.
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.”
Mary Plumley told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “For a fire chief or for anybody like that to say something like that is wrong. They don’t need to be in that position.”
“It’s not good. No, I don’t like it at all,” Janet Vickers said.
Lisa Washington’s Report:
Wes Leopold reacted to Smith’s post, saying, “It’s kind of a dumb thing to do. I think, there’s enough tension in this country. He’s definitely adding to it.”
Chief Smith is out of the country on vacation, but on Facebook, he responded to KDKA:
“I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing the anthem. This had nothing to do with my Fire Department. I regret what I said.”
“My fire department should have never been dragged into this. It was a bad judgement by me, for which I am very embarrassed, for them and my township.”
The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors issued a statement saying they are “deeply disturbed” by Chief Smith’s comments.
“The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors 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.