#BoycottFord started making its rounds on social media this week as users expressed outrage over the decision reached by the Phil Long Ford dealership to end their relationship with Denver Broncos player Von Miller.
The decision came after the 28-year-old linebacker kneeled in protest during this weekend’s NFL game as part of the widespread #TakeTheKnee protest. Players “taking a knee” began dominating media headlines, after Donald Trump called players who protest during the National Anthem “sons of bitches” during a campaign rally in Alabama last week. He also suggested they be fired.
Although the Ford dealership claims Miller did not “lose” his endorsement deal (it ended in March of this year), it did confirm in a written statement that his actions over the weekend have caused them to evaluate who best represents their business. According to CBS4 Denver, the Ford franchise also pulled any ads of Miller that were currently airing.
In a statement to the local news organization, the dealership said:
“We are evaluating the events of the weekend. It is important to state that we haven’t fired Von. We are in the middle of contract renewal and this weekend’s events remind us that sometimes we feel that we best represent ourselves. We support Von and his first amendment rights, we know Von and he’s a good person. He donated a police car to his hometown police dept. All that notwithstanding when we bring in celebrities to represent us we run the risk of being misrepresented.
“We, like millions of Americans are concerned and will respond consistently with our values as a proud American company founded by a war hero (Phil Long). While we can’t control the actions of others we can be responsible for how we support our nation and community. That is why, years ago, our principal owner, Jay Cimino, founded the Mount Carmel Veteran’s Service center, and is supported by all Phil Long Dealerships. We support this cause not just with our words, but financially as well, and it is serving hundreds of veterans in need right here in Colorado. This would be a great time for our community to show support for our military community by supporting this cause or others that continue to serve them after they serve us.”
One thing is for sure, this Ford dealership has certainly made it clear which side of things they’re on in the fight to end racial injustice targeting African-Americans and people of color.
This is not the first time an NFL player has seen backlash from protesting the injustices of Black Americans. Last year, Colin Kaepernick received strong criticism for his demonstration during National Anthem protests. This year he remains a free agent because of it and has yet to be picked up by any NFL team. Miller’s teammate, Brandon Marshall also lost endorsement deals after he took a knee last season.