By Theodore N. Beitchman
When is a pep rally not a pep rally?
As we await Sunday’s 1 p.m. kickoff of the Eagles-Redskins game at the Linc, the answer to that question is simple:
It’s not a pep rally when it is taking place in a South Philly sports bar, but only in the catering room, not the main bar.
So the bar, in this case Toll Man Joe’s, is not all of a sudden becoming a Redskins bar instead of an Eagles bar, which it is and not just because it’s only a mile from the Linc!
Let me explain.
On Tuesday, September 3, the Redskins posted this notice of a ROAD RALLY on their Twitter feed:
It looks innocuous enough, but all of a sudden Toll Man Joe’s started getting bombed on social media as a turncoat: HOW DARE YOU HOST A REDSKINS RALLY!
Not all of the 500 or so Facebook and Twitter posts were negative, but TMJ owners felt compelled to post this:
In addition, Lori Penrose, one of TMJ’s owners, replied on FB:
As most of our customers know, we are also a catering facility.
We have a large enclosed area separate from the restaurant that can be rented for events, but most times donated for large benefits that help our community.
We were contacted by the Redskins organization asking if we would be willing to rent this space the day before the game for 2 hours.
They were hosting their own private pep rally.
This was not an anti Eagles Rally.
It would have nothing to do with our normal Eagles season kickoff on game day. It was not in the restaurant/bar area. We rent space and offer catering. That is our business. Similar to the hotels the organization will be staying at, the restaurants they will eat at, and the clubs and bars they will patronize while in town.
We support our Eagles, and have wholeheartedly for the 3 years Toll Man Joe’s has been in business, as well as every Philadelphia team. We hosted 500 people for the Super Bowl, and shuttled 1,300 people to the Eagles Championship parade. We also happily serve MANY away team fans and patrons throughout each home team season. We did not advertise this event, but they did stating the location.
I cannot begin to tell you the hateful messages we received, and the local Facebook pages literally threatening death to other human beings if this event happens. We have rented this space for many events that might differ from some of our personal beliefs.
But we are a business.
You’re offering a service, and you don’t get to choose who’s worthy of it. We personally do not respond to bullying or threats. We run our business with kindness, and attempt to make every customer feel welcome.
I am appalled and disgusted at the messages I have received today. I pray none of those people are treated in the same way at their next away game. Thanks everyone for reading, and to our customers who know us and support us, we appreciate you.