The Cincinnati Cyclones have a beef with seven people who snuck protest signs aboard the Chick-fil-A branded Zamboni at Saturday night’s playoff game. To say they got an icy reception would be an understatement.
Security grilled the seven protesters and tossed them like lettuce right out of the arena. The team labeled their protest a conflict to “the family-friendly atmosphere” of the Cyclones, and threatened to arrest them for criminal trespass if they were to return, banned for life.
The demonstrators’ bare-bone, handmade signs, seen by more than 7-thousand fans in the U.S. Bank Arena and by untold tens of thousands via Reddit, Twitter and Cincinnati television, were apparently concealed inside a bigger sign wishing someone a happy birthday, just like the black beans hidden inside a Spicy Southwest Salad.
As soon as the Zamboni hit the ice, the seven protesters stripped several white-meat colored placards from that decoy sign, each declaring, “Chick-fil-A is ANTI-GAY.”
The team didn’t waffle in their denunciation of the protest, calling it “unacceptable,” in a tweet.
During the first intermission a group of protestors riding the Chick-fil-A Fan Zam displayed unacceptable messaging that was hidden inside of a birthday sign. The Cincinnati Cyclones & U.S. Bank Arena do not condone this type of behavior or the messaging expressed. 1 of 2— xyz-Cincinnati Cyclones (@CincyCyclones) April 14, 2019
“These actions do not align with the family-friendly atmosphere that we aim to provide,” the Cyclones said in another treat of a tweet. “Chick-fil-A has been a wonderful partner and we are thankful for their on-going [sic] support.
“The offending parties have been removed from the game and we apologize to anyone that may have been offended by these actions,” said the team in yet another sour tweet without a trace of sweetness.
The team did offer this nugget of new, tougher rules to the Cincinnati Inquirer: from now on, fans who pay $10 to ride the “Fan-Zam” will be banned from carrying signs aboard.
”Moving forward, we have adopted a ‘no signage’ policy on the Fan Zam, and we will be monitoring all riders to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again,” said spokesman Everett Fitzhugh, who normally would be focused on the team’s playoff hopes, but instead finds himself in this pickle.
Homophobes, anti-gay religious zealots and conservative media swiftly took to the internet to bash the demonstrators, spreading lies like mustard.
“Commandeered”? NO. The protesters each paid $10 to ride the Fan-Zam.
They are a great Christian company and are not anti-gay.— Barry Tennihan (@barryten) April 15, 2019
Chick-fil-A protesters interrupt Cincinnati Cyclones hockey game, stage demonstration while riding Zambonihttps://t.co/6TrrzSk1d0
“Interrupt?” NO. The Fan Zam cruises the ice during the first intermission.
Cincinnati city council member Chris Seelbach — the city’s first out councilman — burned the Cyclones in a Facebook post: “Can’t have it both ways,” he told the team. “You can’t pretend to be LGBT friendly by hosting a pride night, but also have anti-gay Chick-fil-A as a sponsor.” You can read his post by clicking here.
The team declined to respond to Seelbach’s comment, the Cincinnati Inquirer reported.
The Cyclones lost to the Wings in a 2-0 shutout in Saturday night’s Game 2 of the ECHL playoffs.
With the series tied at one apiece, the Cyclones are in Michigan for Games 3, 4 and 5, beginning Wednesday. Game 6 against Kalamazoo, if necessary, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 at U.S. Bank Arena.