North Smithfield Voting on Nike Boycott
Should the Town Council ban the purchase of Nike products over the Colin Kaepernick ad campaign?That's the question that's up for a vote in North Smithfield, Rhode Island, according to WJAR. Tonight, the Town Council is expected to discuss a potential boycott of Nike products.
Town Council President John Beauregard said, "We're not taking on the whole issue of kneeling in football games. My issue is the disrespect he has shown and the negative comments that Colin Kaepernick has show toward police officers."
He, as well as many others, suggest that the ad's slogan "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," doesn't fit. He suggests that the slogan is disrespectful and insulting to police officers who have died in the line of duty. "They are the ones that have sacrificed everything," said Beauregard.
The Town Council is being asked to vote on asking town departments and the School Committee not to buy any products from Nike.
Personally, I find a lot that's wrong with a town government seriously considering this type of action. It not only feels like a bit of an overreach, but also seems to walk a thin line with the First Amendment.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island seems to feel similarly to how I do. They're suggesting that the Town Council could face legal and financial liability.
Overall, it all feels a little aggressive. I understand the argument that "sacrifice everything" is a tough pill to swallow when compared to those who have truly given their life for something. I totally see where that can rub some the wrong way, but is that the only full sacrifice there is? Is there not room for interpretation on what "everything" can mean?
We act as though giving up a career as a professional athlete is simple. Does it not take sacrifice in and of itself to get to the professional level? Parents and kids alike sacrifice a lot over many years to reach that level.
To me, it feels like a very slippery slope for a government to ban a product based on political or social views. If the ad or Nike was promoting, suggesting or causing harm, I'd understand. Just simply disagreeing on the language feels like it's opening a door that could lead somewhere the Town Council of North Smithfield doesn't want to really go.