Firefighter relieved of duties after saying pro athletes should be shot for protesting

Jonathan Marotti said in a Facebook post that President Trump should post snipers at games and shoot "each player that takes a knee ... in the head"

By Ron Maxey
The Commercial Appeal

EARLE, Ark. — An Earle, Arkansas firefighter is off the job for saying on social media that professional athletes should be shot in the head if they kneel or stay in the locker room during the national anthem.

The firefighter, Jonathan Marotti, issued a written apology Tuesday afternoon, saying he was wrong and childish and was sorry for the embarrassment he caused.

Jonathan Marotti issued a statement apologizing for his comment about shooting athlete protestors.
Jonathan Marotti issued a statement apologizing for his comment about shooting athlete protestors. (Photo/AP)

The fire department said in a Facebook post Monday evening that a firefighter had been relieved of duty indefinitely.

John Buford, assistant chief of the department, said in the post that the department "in no way agrees with the statements that were made and that type of behavior will not be tolerated by any employee of the Earle Fire Department."

A call to the fire department confirmed that the post was legitimate.

The department's post did not identify the firefighter, but the original Facebook posting that apparently led to the action identified the author as Jonathan Marotti.

In the post, the person identified as Marotti said President Donald Trump should post snipers at games and "each player that takes a knee or sits in the lockerroom should b (sic) shot in the head ...."

The post adds that any other protesters should be "shot on sight."

In a statement via email Tuesday afternoon, a person identifying himself as Marotti said he wanted to apologize for his offensive Facebook post.

" was wrong and childish and i (sic) made a mistake that i (sic) cant (sic) erase ...."

The message went on to apologize to the Fire Department, the City of Earle "and to fire fighters all over this great land."

The note concluded with Marotti saying he was "truely (sic) embarrassed" and asked that everyone forgive him.

Contacted by text message, the sender confirmed his identity as Marotti and said everything he wanted to say was included in the message.

"I just wanna move on with my life," he said.

Earle is in Crittenden County near West Memphis, just across the Mississippi River from Memphis.

The post follows several days of controversy that grew out of comments from Trump criticizing players who don't stand during the playing of the national anthem before NFL games.

Trump made the comments during a rally in Alabama as part of a weekend of presidential comments and tweets that took aim at professional athletes. In response, players and coaches in droves took a knee, stayed in the locker room or spoke out publicly at games Sunday and Monday.

Copyright 2017 The Commercial Appeal

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