The nation’s largest police union and an organization that represents black police officers have differing views on the controversial ad by Nike featuring free-agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Nike revealed Kaepernick as their spokesman on Wednesday for the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” campaign. In the ad, the quarterback and activist says, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
That line from the ad has drawn ire from groups who see Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem as disrespectful to police officers and military members, despite the fact that members of both groups have said otherwise.
The Fraternal Order of Police, who endorsed President Donald Trump’s campaign, describes the ad as “hateful” towards police officers.
“The Fraternal Order of Police has been called upon to boycott Nike for capitalizing on this former professional football player because he attracts controversy. In our experience, boycotts and similar exercises do not succeed and often serve only to enrich the company—which is not what we want to do,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “Our members and, for that matter, any American citizen, understands when the law enforcement profession is being insulted— we have no doubt they will make their purchases with that insult in mind.”
The National Black Police Association responded with a press release stating the FOP doesn’t speak for all police officers, particularly the black rank and file.
“A sacrifice is made each time a letter is sent asking officers to boycott a corporation, without asking those very African-American officers who are most affected, what their opinion is,” said Sonia Y.W. Pruitt, the national chairperson of the National Black Police Association in a statement. “If they had asked the NBPA, we would have told them that they are out of line, and that the NBPA supports any person or group who exercises their right to peacefully protest against any form of social injustice, including police brutality and racism.”
The Twitter account of NOBLE, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, tweeted an article from the Washington Post explaining why the NBPA jumping into the fray.