After the announcement was made that Nike was using former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” campaign, Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, released a statement in which he dismissed the idea of police boycotting Nike, instead pointing out that the “sacrifice” that Kaepernick insisted he had made for his beliefs paled next to the sacrifices police consistently make.
Canterbury started by acknowledging Kaepernick and others had the right to express their views, despite the fact that they have disparaged the police in America:
Colin Kaepernick and all Americans have the constitutional right to freely express their views, even if they are uninformed and inflammatory. Indeed, law enforcement officers have an obligation to defend these rights and we do so every day, even in those cases when the views expressed are hostile, hateful or offensive to the men and women of law enforcement.
Canterbury then dismissed the idea of boycotting Nike:
The Fraternal Order of Police has been called upon to boycott Nike for capitalizing on this former professional football player because he attracts controversy. In our experience, boycotts and similar exercises do not succeed and often serve only to enrich the company—which is not what we want to do. Our members and, for that matter, any American citizen, understands when the law enforcement profession is being insulted— we have no doubt they will make their purchases with that insult in mind.
But Canterbury minced no words in slamming Nike: “If Nike chooses to create an ad campaign featuring a former quarterback who describes cops as ‘pigs’ and makes large donations to the family of a convicted cop killer and wanted fugitive, Joanne Chesimard, who murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in cold blood in 1973, they are free to do so.”
Then Canterbury spoke of real sacrifice:
Since 2016, 381 officers have been killed in the line of duty. They believed in something and sacrificed everything, as did the families they left behind. All of the men and women in law enforcement believe in something and are prepared to sacrifice everything.
And his stirring peroration:
Ultimately, this ad campaign will end and our nation will no longer associate “sacrifice” and “sneakers.” Instead, we will once again associate “sacrifice” with our fellow Americans in our military and police departments who stand in harm’s way to protect the rest of us and our right to express ourselves.