NFL owners are considering changing league rules to make it mandatory that players stand for the national anthem, a league spokesman said Tuesday. Time
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington said his office will no longer purchase Ford products after the automaker expressed support for National Football League players' right to kneel in protest during the national anthem.
In a letter to Hixson Ford of Alexandria on Wednesday, Whittington said “recent events surrounding the NFL, its players and their audacity to thumb their collective noses at the American flag, the American military, as well as their obvious disdain for the profession of law enforcement in general, forces me to take a stand.”
Some NFL players began kneeling or sitting during the national anthem during the 2016 season, following the lead of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said when asked to explain his protest, according to NFL.com.
The protests have continued through the start of the 2017 season.
More: Bell: Jerry Jones says protests not good for Cowboys
In late September, Ford Motor Company, a sponsor of the NFL, released a statement in response to controversy over numerous NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem prior to games.
“We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share. That’s part of what makes America great,” read Ford’s statement, according to CNN.
Whittington said in his letter to Hixson Ford the sheriff's office has had a "pleasurable business relationship with your company," and that he hopes the dealership will encourage Ford Motor Company to cease advertising with the NFL until NFL leaders demand that its players "show proper respect for our nation's colors."
“Yes, the NFL players have a right to protest as they deem necessary, but we, the Bossier Sheriff’s Office and taxpayers of Bossier Parish, have a right to spend our money elsewhere,” he said in the letter. “I realize that Ford Motor Co. has made this decision and may not necessarily be supported by your company, but you are our dealer.”
According to information provided by BPSO, in 2016 and 2017 the sheriff's office purchased 29 vehicles from Hixson Autoplex, spending $747,132.
Those vehicles included 21 Ford Police Interceptors, four Ford Tauruses, a Ford F-150, two Ford F-250s and a Ford Explorer.
Whittington also told Hixson Ford that he would send copies of his letter to Louisiana's 63 other sheriffs.
The Times has reached out to both Hixson Ford and Ford's corporate office for comment but has yet to receive a response.
However, a post on BPSO’s Facebook page Thursday evening stated that Dallas L. Hixson of the Hixson Automotive Group in Alexandria “informed Sheriff Whittington that he was not aware of Ford Motor Company’s support for NFL players who wish to protest during the National Anthem or during the game.
“He informed Sheriff Whittington that such a stance concerns him as well, and he will be taking the Sheriff’s letter with him to Detroit to present to Ford Motor Co. leadership in the near future,” the post states.
More: Bossier sheriff joins those decrying anthem protests
Whittington also recently expressed support for Superintendent Scott Smith and the Bossier Parish School System after Smith made a statement noting that Bossier student athletes were expected to stand for the national anthem during sporting events.
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