Local News

Coliseum Vendor Walks Away From Pizza for Patriotic Pride

Posted May 2, 2007

— A Fayetteville man felt that when he had a choice — pizza or patriotism — there was no choice. He went with country over commerce.

The Crown Coliseum told Joe Waters that he had to keep passing out pizza when the national anthem was being played during events. Waters had been selling Spinners pizza at a concession stand, but he and his people would stop and stand at attention during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

Customers had to wait, and Waters said no one complained.

"We would stand aside and stand in attention and honor the playing,” said Waters, whose full-time job is being a truck mechanic.

It went that way until one night as a FireAntz hockey game was about to begin. Somebody from the coliseum said Waters could not interrupt business for the national anthem.

"I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to sell during the playing of the national anthem. It's not right," Waters said. And he quit.

Crown Center management says the coliseum is no different than any other in the Southeast—concessionaires must continue sales at all times during an event.

Rick Reno, the Crown's chief operating officer, said in a phone interview that all concession stands are in the concourse area. It is not, he said, that hawkers are selling in the stands during the anthem. That, he said, would not be allowed.

In Waters’ view, though, all vendors can stop for 90 seconds.

“We have had people that have died in harm’s way, right now — in this town, Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, friends and neighbors,” he said.

Spinners Pizza of Fayetteville decided to follow Waters’ example and not to do business anymore at the Crown Coliseum.

Waters said he might take the matter to the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • JustDontUnderstandPpl May 4, 2007

    Way to go, Joe!!! I am proud of your stand!!!

  • jfulton50 May 4, 2007

    Way to go Jim! You and your crew are an inspiration to all of us.

    I wish I had been there to stand with you. Respect for the flag and the National Anthem is always the appropriate action.

    There are way too many left wing liberals that are only interested in trying to create dissention and too many business folks that care only about the dollar.

    I wish you well in the future and hope you find a job worthy of your patriotism.


    John Fulton

  • beas May 4, 2007

    I support you all the way, Mr. Waters!

  • seeingthru May 4, 2007

    he did the right thing

  • JDPike May 4, 2007

    I've visited the Crown on numerous events and they stop taking tickets (letting people in the doors) when the national anthem is being played. Once it is over the resume letting people in. I don't see what the big deal is over stopping selling pizza for two minuets.

    Way to go Joe and Spinners, tell the Crown to stick it!

  • dell May 4, 2007

    Way to go Joe. Stand your ground.

  • Nobody but Carolina May 4, 2007

    ....and proud of it. ;)

  • strolling bones May 4, 2007

    Ahhh such patrioteers.

  • Nobody but Carolina May 4, 2007

    I'll state this fact that Crown Coliseum is NOT like ALL other sports venues in the SouthEast. At Five County Stadium, a minor league baseball park in Zebulon NC, home of the Carolina Mudcats, ALL Vendor Sales cease when the anthem is played, in fact all ticket sales at the gate cease as well and no one is allowed through the gates while the anthem is played.

  • caniacincary May 4, 2007

    A little bit of history on the Anthem. It is set to the tune of a BRITISH drinking song. The song says we are the "Land of the Free", which was a lie when it was written. Slavery was still prominent. Home of the brave? Our "leader" is a liar and a coward.

    The Anthem is just a song and nothing more.

    I do appreciate that the people in the military are risking their lives to be over in Iraq though.