The financial ramifications are beginning to trickle in after almost 200 players took a knee during the National Anthem before NFL games over the weekend.
According to Times Free Press, Allan Jones, CEO of Hardwick Clothes and Check Into Cash, is no longer supporting the NFL with sponsored wardrobes or advertising dollars after players kneeled before the anthem. Explaining the change Jones stated, “Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!”
Jones has been a long time supporter of the NFL. His clothing company, Hardwick Clothes, is considered the oldest continuously running suit maker in the country. Hardwick Clothes has provided suits for NBC’s on-air hosts during the NFL broadcasts.
Jones also owns and operates a number of payday lending franchises such as Check Into Cash, Buy Here Pay Here USA, or US Money Stores. Through a company called Tombras Group, he paid for advertising space for his three companies during NFL games throughout the season.
After the 200 players took a knee during the games, however, Jones has since pulled his support. The Chattanoogan reports that Jones contacted the Tombras Group and ordered them to pull the ads. “Effective immediately, please remove all commercials for Check Into Cash, Buy Here Pay Here USA, or US Money Shops from airing during NFL games this entire season,” he instructed.
He also stated that Hardwick Clothes would no longer provide suits for NBC during the games. “For the 29 states we operate in, this isn’t much for them, but it’s a lot for us. The Tombras group is our ad agency in Knoxville and our national media buyer for both TV and Radio…and don’t look for Hardwick on the NFL either.”
Jones criticized Colin Kaepernick for his hypocrisy. “When I see Colin Kaepernick lecturing the ‘oppressed’ wearing a Fidel Castro T-shirt you realize the hypocrisy to this stupidity.”
He acknowledged that the NFL players have the right to express themselves, but shouldn’t be surprised that advertisers and fans will react negatively. “I love America. They have the right to protest and I have the right to turn off the channel and place our ads elsewhere. The next time someone ask[s] the public to finance a stadium this will have a very long term effect.”
Jones explained he was frustrated with the players because he believes they don’t even realize what they’re disrespecting. “If you will research why Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner you will realize why I am upset about these NFL players protesting. They don’t even know what it is they are protesting.”
Jones then described what the national anthem was created for and what it represents for him “The flag was still standing. 200 English ships tried to take it down. They kept it up all night and it could only be seen when the bombs were bursting in the air. So many patriots gave their lives to keep the flag up – and now to have people protesting who don’t have a clue about any of this — bothers me.”
Another NFL sponsor pulls out, letting the marketplace deal with the NFL disrespect. Should we leave this kerfuffle to the market to respond?
Losing Jones’ business likely doesn’t have too much of an impact for the billion dollar organization, but it should terrify the NFL nonetheless. It shows how patriotic corporations are frustrated with the unpatriotic attitude of the NFL and its players, and are no longer willing to provide their support.
Jones is not alone in withdrawing his support and he certainly won’t be the last. And when multiple companies begin stopping the money flow into the NFL’s coffers, it will have an impact.
The NFL better find a way to regain face now before too many companies pull out and it becomes harder to bounce back. Perhaps these millionaire players will also realize the consequences of their actions when their paychecks start to dwindle from lack of funding to the NFL.