As the controversy between sports, race and patriotism continues to surface in the midst of the start of the 2018 NFL season, we are reminded that Nike isn’t the first company to take a stand on this issue.
A year ago, the Ford Motor Company, which owns the Detroit Lions, pushed back on President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric against NFL players who chose to protest by taking a knee or not standing during the playing of the National Anthem.
“We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share,” the company said in a 2017 statement. “That’s part of what makes America great.”
On Monday, Nike drew a very clear line in the sand by choosing Colin Kaepernick to be the first face celebrating the 30 year anniversary of their ‘Just Do It” campaign.
In a bold statement the ad reads: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything #JustDoIt.”
Ford also has a heavy stake in the NFL with team ownership and last year, the company entered into a three-year agreement making the Ford F-Series the league’s official truck.
In the past, President Trump has urged people to protest the NFL and said owners should fire players who decide to kneel during the national anthem, CNN reports. He continues to push this agenda as the controversy looms on the 2018 season.
The NFL, however, has said it would not penalize players who refuse to take the field during the national anthem.
Martha Firestone Ford, owner and chairwoman of the Detroit Lions and a member of the Ford family, boldly fired back at Trump for his divisive comments in an epic 2017 statement.
“Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation,” she said to CNN Money. “Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions.”
Ford also owns the naming rights to the Ford Field in Detroit.
Still missing the whole point, on Sunday, Trump continued to encourage fans to protest.
“Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country,” he tweeted on Sunday.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our country, you will see change take place fast,” he tweeted.
Trump continued his stream of lies saying his constant attacks aren’t racially motivated.
“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” Trump said in another tweet.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that “divisive comments… demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”