New Jersey Car Dealer Drops NFL Sponsorship Over Protest Debate

In response to the ongoing controversy surrounding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the owner of Flemington Car and Truck Country has pulled the dealership’s ads from broadcasts of games for the remainder of the 2017 season. 

“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,” Steve Kalafer said in a statement. “We have cancelled all of our NFL advertising on the Optimum and Infinity (cable) networks.”

Kalafer is also part of the Somerset Patriots’ ownership group, an independent professional baseball team based in Somerset County.

“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 said in the statement.

Advertising during the 2018 season will be considered at a later date, he said. Representatives of Optimum and Xfinity could not be reached for comment as of Monday night.

Both cable companies and representatives of Kalafer would not disclose the advertising rates the car dealer pays during NFL games.

Kalafer decided to pull the ads on Thursday after he said employees and customers commented on the disrespect they felt from players who have either knelt or locked arms during the playing of the national anthem.

“I’m talking to 99-percent of (my) contacts, and they agree that it’s disrespectful, it’s improper,” he said. “We couldn’t support the lack of direction.”

However, Kalafer stressed his problem is not with protests, but the way the NFL and team owners have not taken a leadership role in responding to the player’s actions.

He feels strongly that NFL owners should have given their players direction on how to best exercise freedom of speech. As a result of lack of intervention by the owners, Kalafer said, the protests have spiraled out of control.

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.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stayed seated during the national anthembeginning in August 2016 to protest the treatment of African Americans and other people of color, specifically by police officers. He began taking a knee instead on Sept. 1, 2016 after talking to former Green Beret and former NFL player Nate Boyer about the best way to make his point without disrespecting the military. After several fatal shootings of black men by white officers took place, other players joined his protest over the year.

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Source: New Jersey