Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller effectively lost an endorsement deal with Phil Long Ford after he took a knee during the playing of our national anthem before Sunday's kickoff against the Buffalo Bills.
According to a spokesman from the Phil Long Dealership, the linebacker was "in the middle of contract renewal" with the company before the NFL star chose to take a knee this weekend. Considering Miller's act, the patriotic, veteran-supporting brand chose to end their partnership.
"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. 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," said the Phil Long Ford spokesman.
"We, like millions of Americans are concerned and will respond consistently with our values as a proud American company founded by a war hero (Phil Long)," he continued. "While we can’t control the actions of others we can be responsible for how we support our nation and community. That is why, years ago, our principal owner, Jay Cimino, founded the Mount Carmel Veteran’s Service center, and is supported by all Phil Long Dealerships. We support this cause not just with our words, but financially as well, and it is serving hundreds of veterans in need right here in Colorado. This would be a great time for our community to show support for our military community by supporting this cause or others that continue to serve them after they serve us.”
Miller said he took a knee in response to President Donald Trump's recent remarks about the Kaepernick-like protest. During a rally for Alabama Senate candidate Luther Strange, the president remarked that it would be great if NFL owners would fire the "son of a b****" players who refuse to stand during the anthem.
"Me and my teammates, we felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech," explained Miller on Sunday. "Collectively, we felt like we had to do something for this game, if not any other game — if not in the past, in the future — at this moment in time, we felt like, as a team, we had to do something. We couldn’t just let things go. I have a huge respect for the military, our protective services and everything. I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve met real-life superheroes. It wasn’t any disrespect to them, it was for our brothers that have been attacked for things that they do during the game, and I felt like I had to join them on it."
The NFL's ratings dropped after President Trump's remarks on the protest, according to Business Insider.