Local News

Coliseum Changes Policy After Anthem Brouhaha

Posted May 8, 2007
Updated May 9, 2007

— Thanks to a new rule at Fayetteville's coliseum, concessions workers now halt sales during the national anthem. The change came about after one man made his story heard.

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.

"My values and my staff's values were that we made it a point to honor the playing of the national anthem,” he said. “It didn't matter how busy we were.”

When someone from the coliseum told him in April that they couldn't interrupt business for the anthem, he quit.

“I'm just a man out here working, trying to make a living, and I made a stand for something that I strongly believe in,” said Waters, who works as a truck mechanic by day.

After WRAL interviewed Waters last week, Fox News came calling.

"I thought it was a joke at first,” he said. “I thought that some of my friends were playing with me."

After a week of enduring the media glare, the Crown Coliseum announced Saturday night that it's revising the old policy in honor of the Star-Spangled Banner.

"It did give us the opportunity on a national scale, to point out, once again, in this all-American city, that democracy worked,” said the Crown's chief operating officer, Rick Reno.

Reno said he approached his board, county commissioners, and even Fort Bragg about creating the new practice for vendors.

"Our practice is to instruct them to pause during the playing of the national anthem,” Reno said.

Waters said it’s a step in the right direction, and he’s been humbled by the attention. He also said that if Crown Coliseum asks him to come back, he would consider it.


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  • RainierBeer May 10, 2007

    I wrote the Coliseum staff a pointed e-mail, showing how anti-American they were being. Why does it take such an outcry to wake stupid management people up? It was a no-brainer. JOE, YOU DA MAN!

  • Escapist May 10, 2007

    We need more people, like Joe, with the courage to stand up for what's right and honorable! By honoring our symbols and traditions, we're showing our respect for all the people before us who fought to make this country great! We can't ignore or forget what our country stand for. Great job, Joe!

  • peppercorns May 10, 2007

    MOre people should be like Joe - he is a good American!!! THank you!
    What ever happened to taking off your hat and showing respect to the flag and our country?? I've been to all sorts of local parades and big parades and no one ever does this anymore. No one take soff their hats and hold it over their hearts during the anthem anymore either....
    lead by example....

  • spotted horse rider May 10, 2007


  • carrese May 9, 2007

    Way to go Joe. If people don't want to honor the National Anthem and other American customs (like speaking English, afterall it is our National Language) they can move elsewhere. Places like Sudan, North Korea, Bangladesh, France and China would love to have immigrants today!

  • Aquamarine May 9, 2007

    Voice of Reason.. sorry, I misunderstood your comment. I do agree with this statement, but there really are too many people trying the change too much that has worked for more than 200 years.

  • Voice of Reason 23 May 9, 2007

    Aquamarine - I never suggested that people shouldn't honor the symbols. I was saying that the things the symbols stand for are far more important than the symbols themselves.

  • Jakester May 9, 2007

    Way to go Joe!!!!

  • Aquamarine May 9, 2007

    Voice of Reason (if that is what you are)If everyone did as you suggest, and did not honor the anthem, the flag, the principles on which our country was built, where do you think we would be now? Only in the last 5 or so years have "some" people been stirring up trouble over these and other symbols of our freedom. This is a great country, because for the first 200 years, the citizens of the United States lived by these symbols, and THAT included many other people coming here to live from many other countries. Why was everything we were built on good enough for all of those people, but it isn't good enough for the ones who are coming here now?

  • GWALLY May 9, 2007

    WAY TO GO JOE!!!! YOU DA MAN!!!!.......see folks 1 person CAN MAKE A DIFFERANCE!!!!!!!!!!