Just as those players taking a knee during the national anthem are exercising their right to freedom of speech, so are those NFL fans complaining about the infiltration of politics into the sport they love. The NFL’s coaches have already proven that they don’t know their audience in supporting the protests, the majority of which disapprove of them.
There’s reason to believe that it’s helped contribute to declines in the viewership of Sunday football, though people are a bit hesitant to admit that when President Trump points it out, as evidenced by the two CNN articles written by the same columnist a mere six days apart….
While some NFL sponsors have pushed back, in September, Ford Motor Co. released a statement supporting NFL players’ right to protest. “We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share. That’s part of what makes America great,” the Ford statement said.
Companies are truly damned if they do, and damned if they don’t when it comes to keeping or pulling their sponsorship. While I don’t think anyone disagrees that the players have a right to protest, it doesn’t mean we have to agree with it, which is a lesson Ford is now learning.
According to The Maven, Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington is taking a stand on the NFL’s national anthem protests, and he has announced that his department will no longer purchase Ford vehicles.
In an open letter to his local Ford dealer, Sheriff Whittington explained not only why the sheriff’s office would not be purchasing Ford vehicles, but he urged other Louisiana sheriffs to do the same.
“…the recent events surrounding the NFL, its players and their audacity to thumb their collective noses at the American Flag, the American military as well as their obvious disdain for the profession of law enforcement in general; forces me to take a stand,” the sheriff wrote.
“The Bossier Sheriff’s Office will no longer purchase Ford products as long as Ford sides with these who have no regard for the men and women who protect and serve this great nation. “
Hyundai had been the only active automotive sponsor of the NFL until last year when Ford paid for a three-year deal to make Ford trucks the official trucks of the NFL.
The exact amount that Ford is paying the NFL hasn’t been released, but auto deals with the NFL are typically worth over $100 million.
Had Ford pulled their advertisements it’s likely some Black Lives Matter affiliated group would’ve decided to boycott Ford instead, but given the overwhelming unpopularity of such anti-police groups, such a boycott could’ve ended up helping them. After all, look what happened to Chick-fil-A.