A large car dealership in New Jersey has pulled TV ads from NFL games for the remainder of the 2017-2018 season.
Flemington Car and Truck Country issued a statement, saying that the ads will be removed due to some NFL players’ protests during the national anthem.
“The National Football League and its owners have shown their fans and marketing partners that they do not have a comprehensive policy to ensure that players stand and show respect for America and our flag during the playing of the national anthem,” the owner, Steve Kalafer, said in a statement, according to NJ Advance Media. “We have canceled all of our NFL advertising on the Optimum and Infinity (cable) networks.”
“As the NFL parses the important nationwide issues of ‘social justice’ and ‘freedom of speech,’ it is clear that a firm direction by them is not forthcoming,” Kalafer added in the statement, per NJ.com.
He said that for the 2018-2019 season, advertising will be considered.
Employees and customers commented on the disrespect that they felt from the players who chose to kneel or lock arms during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” he added.
“I’m talking to 99-percent of (my) contacts, and they agree that it’s disrespectful, it’s improper,” Kalafer said. “We couldn’t support the lack of direction.”
He said that his reason for pulling ads isn’t because of the protests themselves, but how NFL and team executives have handled the situation. Kalafer said they haven’t taken a leadership role in responding to their protests.
“Owners buried their heads in the sand when (Colin) Kaepernick was kneeling. That was the time and place for direction and leadership, and that’s why this controversy is taking place,” he said.
The first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem was Colin Kaepernick, who said he did it to protest “police brutality” and “racial injustice.” Kaepernick drew the national spotlight with his protest, but has not been hired by any team since becoming a free agent.
Last weekend, President Donald Trump said that players who didn’t stand for the anthem should be fired. In response, at least 200 players protested during the anthem.
Allan Jones, the owner of Hardwick Clothes and CEO of payday lending chain Check Into Cash, last week said that he won’t advertise with the NFL any longer, calling the league “unpatriotic.”
“Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!” said Jones, reported The Times Free Press.
“For the 29 states we operate in, this isn’t much to them, but it’s a lot to us. The Tombras Group is our ad agency in Knoxville and our national media buyer for both TV and radio (for Check Into Cash) and don’t look for Hardwick on the NFL either,” he said.