After Kid Rock was ousted as grand marshal of the Nashville Christmas Parade following profane comments made about daytime personality, Joy Behar, the conservative rocker was replaced by Nashville’s own, James Shaw Jr. — the man who tackled a gunman during a city-area shooting this past spring.
Shaw, the hero of Nashville’s Waffle House shooting in April, became the Christmas parade’s last-minute substitute for grand marshal during the city’s 68th annual festive event on Saturday after stepping in for Rock who was ejected from events for calling The View co-host, Behar a b— on live television Friday morning.
Shaw, who led the parade at 9 a.m. local time, was hailed a hero for tackling the Nashville Waffle House shooter in April. While four people were killed and four others injured, Shaw had the honor of riding in a carriage this weekend with relatives of Akilah Dasilva, a musician who was killed in the shooting.
“It warms the heart to be here with the Dasilva family,” Shaw told the Associated Press Saturday morning.
Shaw took to social media hours after the event to share his excitement and enthusiasm to take part in the parade, in addition to sharing a suave photo of himself on Instagram of proper “Grand Marshal Etiquette.”
Fans and residents of Nashville took to the comment section to praise Shaw for attending amid the controversy.
“Should have been you to begin with,” wrote one user.
“Much, much improved over Kid Rock,” another added.
“You deserve it bro,” wrote another.
And rightfully so he does. On April 22, Shaw tackled and unarmed a shooter at the Waffle House in Antioch, Tennessee, a southern suburb of Nashville. Wearing nothing but a green jacket, the shooter, Travis Reinking, opened fire from outside the building and killed four people. Shaw attacked and disarmed Reinking, wrenching the gun out of his hands after a bullet grazed his arm and the barrel burned the palm of his hand.
Shaw described his actions as pure survival instincts, saying he does not want to feel like a superhero.
“I did that completely out of a selfish act. I was completely doing it just to save myself,” Shaw said, per a report from CNN.
He was dubbed a hero for his actions, though he personally feels the label does not suit him.
“I don't really know, when everyone said that (I was a hero), it feels selfish,” Shaw told The Tennessean. “I was just trying to get myself out. I saw the opportunity and pretty much took it.”
As for Rock, he has broken his silence since the controversy first erupted. On Saturday morning, he took to Instagram to share with fans how his parade “has been rained on,” but would rather spend the day with family. However hours earlier, it was a different story for Rock, whose real name is Robert James Richie, after he took to the platform to respond to the backlash about his Behar comments, not mentioning how he lost out on the parade.
“Behar has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and when Myself, Sarah Palin and Ted Nugent visited The White House last year, Behar called it 'the saddest day in the history of the White House since the British burned it to the ground in 1814,’” he wrote in an Instagram post.
“Today I said ‘Screw that Joy Behar b—,’” he continued. “Mess with the bull, you get the horns. End of story. I apologized for cursing on live tv, I will not for my sentiment nor do I expect an apology from her or anyone else who has choice words for me or doesn’t like me. God Bless America.”
The fiasco began during an interview with FOX News when Rock made statements that appeared to minimize racism and homophobia as just political correctness, while encouraging viewers to be less divisive in their rhetoric, while taking a jab at Behar.
“God forbid you say something a little bit wrong, you’re racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, this that and another. People need to calm down get a little less politically correct," Rock said. “I would say, ‘love everybody,’ except I’d say, screw that Joy Behar b—.”
Though the on-air reporter immediately apologized for Rock’s statement, and later issued a second on-air apology on their network, the damage was done in Nashville.
Councilman Freddie O’Connell announced on Twitter he would not attend festivities if Rock remained as grand marshal, with Mayor David Briley threatening to skip the parade because of Rock. Hours later, sponsors began to turn, along with parade organizers announcing their decision to part ways with Rock.0comments
“Parade organizers feel that the grand marshal should personify the spirit of the Nashville community,” the sponsors said in a statement. “[We] have invited James Shaw, Jr., who became a community hero after stopping a shooting at a local Waffle House earlier this year, to be honored.”
Photo credit: ABC News / James Shaw Jr.