When the NFL players continued their boycott of the national anthem over the weekend there was bound to be consequences.
According to the Daily Wire, Von Miller, an outside linebacker for the Denver Broncos, is one of the first to potentially be impacted financially by his protest of the anthem. The Phil Long Ford Dealership is questioning whether or not to renew their endorsement deal with Miller.
Miller says he took a knee during the national anthem not to offend the military, but to protest President Trump’s statements over the weekend. “Me and my teammates, we felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherish right, freedom of speech,” he said.
Yet his decision to participate in the protests may have cost him what is likely a lucrative endorsement deal with the Ford dealership company owned by Phil Long.
A spokesman for the company says they were “in the middle of contract renewal” with Miller when he took a knee during the national anthem over the weekend, causing them to question the wisdom in maintaining business dealings with the player.
According to the spokesman they haven’t “fired” Miller, they are determining whether they will renew the contract or let it phase out. “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,” he said.
The spokesman goes on to say that while Miller’s a good person, his disrespect towards the flag would put the company at risk if they kept him on: “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.”
The company is concerned about misrepresentation, given their long history of patriotism and support for veterans. In fact, the company’s founder, Phil Long, was founded by an American War Hero.
According to the company’s website, Phil Long was a brave soldier engaged in many highly dangerous missions. He was granted the Air Medal and Gold Star for his heroic acts during aerial combat, he also received Presidential Unit Citations in the Navy and Marines for “gallantry, determination, and spirit de corps in accomplishing a mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions.”
This patriotism and bravery is reflected in the company’s image and would be at risk if they decided to continue working with the NFL player who disrespected the military and his country by taking a knee during the national anthem.
The spokesman for Phil Long Dealership states that the company is concerned by the protests and will renew its efforts to set the example of patriotism: “We, like millions of Americans, are concerned and will respond consistently with our values as a proud American company founded by a war hero.”
Denver Broncos Von Miller may lose his endorsement deal with The Phil Long Ford Dealership. Should the NFL protesters lose their endorsement deals?
No doubt many on the Left will see this as the company trying to restrict Miller’s right to free speech. Yet the company’s concern with being a patriotic entity endorsing an unpatriotic athlete is a legitimate one and would likely alienate many of their customers and tarnish their public image. The company, like Miller, is similarly free to present themselves to the public however they wish.
No one can, or should, control how other people behave and express themselves, but neither should we be expected to be okay with it simply because they have free speech. The NFL controversy reminds us that while we can’t control the actions of the players who disrespect our country, we can be the example of patriotism that these athletes fail to be.
The Phil Long Dealership spokesman put it best when he stated: “While we can’t control the actions of others we can be responsible for how we support our nation and community.”