McKenzie football announcer steps down over national anthem remarks

Published 5:10 pm Monday, September 12, 2016

Longtime McKenzie High School football announcer Allen Joyner has resigned from calling McKenzie football games after saying he was misquoted on social media about those who choose not to stand while the Star-Spangled Banner is being played.

In the post on Facebook, which has since been deleted, a fan from the visiting team alleged that Joyner said “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.”

Prior to being deleted, the post was shared more than 4,700 times in less than a day.

Email newsletter signup

An article published Saturday, which has since been shared nearly 20,000 times and generated more than 1,400 comments, prompted a response from Butler County Schools superintendent Amy Bryan denouncing the encouragement of violent acts within the school system.

“We encourage and teach patriotism in school and at school events,” Bryan said.

“However, threats against anyone who isn’t patriotic, even in jest, have no place at a school. Threats of violence are a violation of school board policy and are certainly not condoned by the school board.  Mr. Joyner has called to apologize to all affected by this and has removed himself as announcer.”

Joyner, pastor of Sweet Home Baptist Church, said Monday in an email submitted to Bryan that his words were taken out of context.

“I deeply regret that the comments I made were misquoted,” Joyner said in the email.

“The dear lady that posted the comment on Facebook was paying our school a compliment.  I never said anybody should be shot. My words were ‘if you don’t want to stand for the national anthem, please go sit at the baseball field and let some of our folks take a shot at reminding you of the price our military paid for your freedom to sit.’ I never advocated violence of any kind… just an opportunity to educate.”

Joyner, who said he served in the Alabama National Guard for 20 years, added that he had numerous commendations to verify his passion for his country.

“As a Christian, I would never support unlawful acts of any kind, much less murder,” Joyner continued.

“Anyone who knows me knows… I am not the man I am being portrayed as.  As for everyone else, it really doesn’t matter.  I am being judged by a Facebook misquote, so really I guess prejudice is what I should be screaming.

“As a pastor, I would never encourage any form of violence to the church.  Our church is under attack because people took a misquote as chance to let their voice be heard, but… I am expected to bow down under the pressure of those who believe differently than I.  Is that what America has come to?

“I realize I overstepped my authority as PA announcer to express my patriotic views.  For that reason, I have agreed to step down as announcer.  Please do not take this as an admission to being wrong.  My family, my church and my school have suffered because of this misquote; therefore, I chose not to continue to put them under more scrutiny from people who don’t know me.”

Because Joyner’s announcer role wasn’t a paid one, McKenzie’s principal and athletic director have been tasked with finding another volunteer prior to McKenzie’s home game against Florala Friday.