Local News

Raleigh bar patrons share differing views of discrimination claims

Posted June 23, 2012
Updated May 10, 2013

— Accusations of racial discrimination at The Downtown Sports Bar and Grill in Raleigh continue to spark strong opinions, especially among people who've been there.

One day after Jonathan Wall, a 21-year-old black patron, told the media that he was thrown out of the Glenwood Avenue establishment, other patrons shared stories of similar mistreatment, while others painted a different picture.

“What raised an eyebrow was it happened to me and it happened to him (Wall). Who else is it happening to?” said Terrel Hopson.

Hopson and his co-worker, Richard Meador, say they were at a business dinner on Glenwood Avenue in December. After dinner, they went to Downtown Sports Bar and Grill. Everyone in the group was white, except Hopson, who is black. They say he was turned away because his sweater was too long.

“Meanwhile, we see other people go into this establishment with flip flops (and jeans and shirts with holes),” Hopson said, adding that he was eventually told he could enter if he tucked in his sweater.

“It floored me that any establishment, any company in Wake County could survive with that type of callousness,” Meador added.

Wall's account of being thrown out of the bar because he is black has generated similar claims of discrimination on social media. Others, though, are defending the bar.

One man, who did not want to be identified, says he goes to Downtown Sports Bar three or four times a week and sees a diverse mix of people.

“It’s laid back, easy going. I mean, I don’t see (any) problems,” the man said.

Richard Meador and Terrel Hopson Raleigh bar patrons differ on discrimination claims

Downtown Raleigh nightlife photos, shot by LazyDay.com and featured on WRAL.com, do show diverse crowds inside the bar.

“Like anywhere you go, you’re going to have problems no matter where you’re at. It’s how people take it,” the man said.

Hopson says there was only one way for him to take what happened that night in December.

“I was refused because of (my) color and fabric,” he said.

William Potter, an attorney for Downtown Sports Bar, continued Saturday to deny any discrimination at the bar.

"On any Friday night, 20 to 30 percent of the membership at the bar are racial minorities. Any suggestion the business is racist is foolish,” he said.

Potter said he wasn't familiar with Hopson's claims. As for Wall, he again reiterated Wall took advantage of a crowded door situation last weekend after being told he could not enter without being a member or the guest of a member.


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  • solarcableguy Jun 27, 2012

    John Wall has more integrity is his pinky finger than any bar owner or bouncer in downtown Raleigh. He spoke quite eloquently at my daughter's graduation ceremony downtown Raleigh on June 8th. John is attending Harvard this Fall to earn his MBA after graduating at the top of his class. (and no, I am not black but a college educated causasion woman in her 50's)How about you?

    That is as discriminating a statement as I have ever read on WRAL. Who are you to say whether this guy has more integrity than any bar owner or bouncer in downtown Raleigh. You are an arrogant racist, bigot. Just because someone does well in school and goes to Harvard does not make them of high integrity or better than anyone else. What you wrote was classless at best.

  • ppirrotta Jun 27, 2012

    John Wall has more integrity is his pinky finger than any bar owner or bouncer in downtown Raleigh. He spoke quite eloquently at my daughter's graduation ceremony downtown Raleigh on June 8th. John is attending Harvard this Fall to earn his MBA after graduating at the top of his class. (and no, I am not black but a college educated causasion woman in her 50's)How about you?

  • solarcableguy Jun 27, 2012

    @disabled vet

    I agree! If the law is not being enforced properly that is an issue, but it doesn't excuse Mr. Wall from breaking the law when it is enforced properly.

    It would be like trying to argue with a police officer that it was ok for you to speed because he didn't see or catch the other speeders. It doesn't make any sense.

  • promethazine codeine lover Jun 27, 2012

    @solarcableguy Let me remind you that I don't care who they let in and who they deny at the door.. My problem is consistency of their policy (I don't care what policy it is, just be consistent with it)

    The count of black people in the club is irrelevant to "management" policies.

  • solarcableguy Jun 26, 2012

    You obviously missed the point of my post jjordan.

    If you visited the bar 50 times did you see any mistreatment of people? If so, why did you continue to go back and why didn't you do anything about it. If not then you have no arguement.

    As for disabled vet; it is your opinion that it was race related, but you have yet to answer the question as to how that is possible with the pictures showing a largely diversified crowd in the bar including the same race as this tresspasser.

    By the way, tresspassing charges do not have to be filed for tresspassing to have occured and once again what you say you experience at other places on Glenwood is completely irrelevant here. The courts go case by case and I suggest you do the same.
    And Todd is not my boy as you claim.


    Your assertion about the manager not fact. The doormen were in the video and why can't you trust your own eyes when you see the diversified clientele in the bar in the pictures.

    Race Card Fraud

  • jjordan231179 Jun 26, 2012

    @solarcableguy The office incident dating back to 2001 is related to this case. I'm not even sure why/how you don't see the connection... If the victim "snuck in" why was he offered the option to buy a drink or leave?? Why hasn't their been trespassing charges?? History/background plays a factor in this situation... Your boy Todd is a cocaine addict according to DOC records.
    useless disabled crippled vet
    June 26, 2012 11:04 a.m.
    Report abuse

    He doesnt want to see it. It destroys everything he is trying to defend. You cant defend that video. A white couple allowed a membership same night the black couple has to wait 3 days? LOL SOLARGUY my be below a liberal in intelligence. Hes as bright as a busted two watt Obama lightbulb.

  • jjordan231179 Jun 26, 2012

    Can someone show me a picture of a DTSB membership card? Place is packed someone should have one right? Show me.

  • jjordan231179 Jun 26, 2012

    Never ONCE at any bar in the Gelnwood distric have I ever been asked for anything but an ID. PERIOD. Call me a liar, fraud, or whatever else makes you feel better. Ive been to Mirage, NOIR, Solace, 606, Globe, Hi-5, Cantina, Hibernia, Napper Tandys, Cashmere, Stilllife, DTSB (and formerly Stool Pigeons, Bogarts, The BAsement (now gone), is that enough? I have never been asked for a membership at any of these establishemnts. Sorry you;re in denial.

  • jjordan231179 Jun 26, 2012

    First of all, if you have been there 50 times then you either approve of their methods or you're lying about the diversity that is in fact let into the bar. Either way you didn't seem to have a problem with how they did business the first 50 times you went there which tells me that you may not have gone there at all or you have other motives. Secondly, I don't know that I believe you just like many others on this board.
    June 26, 2012 10:26 a.m.
    Report abuse

    Why would I lie about going to a bar? LOL My only point was Ive never been asked for a membership at this bar. EVER. Why not? If its a RULE? Quit being a liberal and dancing all over the place.

  • promethazine codeine lover Jun 26, 2012

    pretty much common practice at every bar/club , in the nation... some people even get to skip the "entrance" fee, along with the "membership" status. It just so happens that this case is race related.