Cecil fire department accepts chief’s resignation over racial slur at Steelers coach
Officials at a Cecil fire department accepted the resignation of its chief Tuesday following outrage over his posting of a racial slur on social media, according to a statement posted on the township website.
Ron Zombeck, president of Cecil Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 in Muse, said that the resignation of Paul Smith was accepted at noon Tuesday in light of outrage over a Facebook comment by Smith in response to the Steelers’ decision not to take the field Sunday for the national anthem.
“The company is deeply saddened and does not condone or agree with the views of our former leader and we fully denounce his statement,” Zombeck said in the statement. “Please understand that all other emergency service organizations within Cecil Township operate independently from one another and our department alone accepts full accountability regarding this matter.”
Smith directed the racial slur at Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin announced before Sunday’s game that the team would remain out of view from the crowd and television cameras when the national anthem was played at Chicago’s Soldier Field. Tomlin said he wanted to keep the team out of a political firestorm that erupted when President Trump criticized players who have protested police brutality and racial inequality during the past year by kneeling during the anthem.
Trump’s comments prompted more than 200 players across the NFL to kneel Sunday.
“Tomlin just added himself to the list of no good (N-words). Yes I said it,” Smith wrote on a Facebook page during the game.
Smith later apologized. The post appeared to have been removed from the social media site. A phone number could not be located for him.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter @byrenatta.