Paul Smith, the former volunteer fire chief in Washington County, called Tomlin a “no good Ni**er,” and added, “Yes I said it.” That was his reaction to the team waiting in the tunnel on Sunday at Chicago’s Solider Stadium while the national anthem played. Ironically, the team avoided taking the field to avoid controversy.
CBS News reported that The Cecil Township Board of Supervisors said in a statement on Tuesday that it cannot tolerate Smith’s comment, which “deeply disturbed” the board’s members.
Many people in the community also said the former fire chief crossed a line, according to CBS.
“I’m completely upset, especially for a town like this, coming from the fire chief, that’s disrespectful in my eyes. I don’t agree with it one bit,” Dylan Pareso, who lives near the firehouse, told CBS News’ Pittsburgh affiliate.
“For a fire chief or for anybody like that to say something like that is wrong, Mary Plumley, a community resident, added. “They don’t need to be in that position.”
Smith apologized for his remarks after coming under pressure.
“I am embarrassed at this. I want to apologize. I was frustrated and angry at the Steelers not standing the anthem. This had nothing to do with my Fire Department. I regret what I said,” he stated, according to CBS.
The Post-Gazette said Smith was a volunteer with the fire department for 23 years and recently appointed chief.