Chattanooga man loses job after sitting during national anthem

Tyler Chancellor says he was invited to sit with his coworkers in the VIP section of the Camp Jordan arena Saturday. (Hannah Lawrence/WTVC)

A man said Monday he lost his job because he sat during the national anthem at an event this weekend.

Tyler Chancellor worked for 9Round, a kickboxing gym in Chattanooga. His termination comes during a national conversation about respect for the American Flag.

The company said Chancellor was in training to become a coach at their gym. He said he'd only been on the payroll for a little more than a week before the owner told him not to come back.

Tyler Chancellor says he was invited to sit with his coworkers in the VIP section of the Camp Jordan arena Saturday. On Monday, he said his employer fired him because he sat during the National Anthem.

"Me being a minority in this society, I chose to stand up for what I believe in- well not actually stand up, but sit down for what I believe in," Chancellor said.

Chancellor said Saturday was the first time he'd been present for the playing of the national anthem since the controversy between the NFL and President Donald Trump began.

"I wasn't the only one sitting down," Chancellor said. "There were other minorities in the stands sitting down."

He said no one said anything to him that night, and he didn't know anything was wrong until he met with his boss Monday morning.

"She said because you sat down, you were a part of a 9Round event, and you sat during the national anthem," Chancellor said. "We no longer want to continue business with you. There was no sugar coating."

The owner of the facility in East Brainerd saud the company backs military and first responders. He considered Chancellor's actions disrespectful.

Harvard Law School Professor Mark Tushnet said the law in Tennessee is written so that employers like 9Round can run their businesses however they want.

"Employers are entitled to fire people what's known as 'at will.'" Tuchnet said. "That is for any reason they have, or for no reason at all."

According to the professor, Tennessee isn't necessarily unique. About half of the county's states do not ban an employer from terminating someone because of political beliefs.

Chancellor said he found that out after looking into taking legal action. Even though there's not much he can do, he said he doesn't regret his decision to sit.

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