A national lobbying group for police departments is calling for a boycott of Nike products after Colin Kaepernick became part of Nike's new 30th anniversary Just Do It ad campaign.
The ad is in black and white and is close up of his face with the line: "believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." it’s a reference to Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem and no team signing the free agent.
The National Association of Police Organizations blasted Nike CEO Mark Parker in an open letter, ripping the company for making Kaepernick the face of the new campaign. The police organization called him "a shallow dilettante seeking to gain notoriety by disrespecting the flag."
It goes on to say including the former San Francisco 49er "perpetuates the falsehood that police are racist and aiming to use force against African Americans and persons of color" and called for its 241,000 members to boycott Nike.
“Nike grossly insults the men and women who really do make sacrifices for the sake of our nation,” the group said.
A NAPO spokesman declined an interview request saying the letter speaks for itself.
Police organizations in North Texas either didn't respond to requests for comment or said it's a topic too hot to touch right now when contacted by FOX4.
One Texas police organization is speaking, though. Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Austin-based Texas Municipal Police Association, has spoken out on the topic before and represents 28,000 officers statewide.
“I think the NAPO letter is pretty representative of how officers across the nation feel,” Lawrence said. “There is no real national dialogue about the facts. Everybody is focused on the rhetoric and that's what Mr. Kaepernick is. The rhetoric has become the story instead of the truth.”
Lawrence says while he supports NAPO’s stand, he doesn't necessarily agree with a boycott as the means to an end.
“I'd rather have a public debate with Mr. Kaepernick or these NFL players or Nike executives about what the real issue is, what is it exactly we are trying to address,” Lawrence said. “Let's televise it at half time of a football game.”
Nike did not respond to a request for comment when asked about the NAPO boycott.
The Oregon-based shoe giant plans to release a Kaepernick shoe and other apparel. Kaepernick reportedly will make millions on the deal, with some of the proceeds also going to his foundation.