Well, it’s happened. Ever since an NFL player – you know who it was – opted to sit during the National Anthem, folks have been clamoring for someone to lose a sponsor over what they deem to be an outrage. Now someone has, and it’s not Colin Kaepernick.
Air Academy Federal Credit Union has dumped Denver Broncos star, Brandon Marshall, after he joined Kaepernick’s “kneel protest” at a recent preseason game. It’s not something Marshall will likely miss much, after all, they’d only been together a few months, and it was likely much less than other endorsements Marshall has earned. But it WAS the first one to go, so it could begin a domino effect. Here’s their statement:
“Although we have enjoyed Brandon Marshall as our spokesperson over the past five months, Air Academy Federal Credit Union (AAFCU) has ended our partnership. AAFCU is a membership-based organization who has proudly served the military community for over 60 years. While we respect Brandon’s right of expression, his actions are not a representation of our organization and membership. We wish Brandon well on his future endeavors…”
It’s hardly surprising that a business supported almost exclusively by active duty or former military personnel would feel this way about the anthem protest. They see that moment reflecting on the flag much differently than does Kaepernick or Marshall. It’s actually this very point that Kaepernick says he hopes people understand. For him – and for Marshall and others – sitting during the anthem is not about disrespecting the military. It’s about bringing attention to issues that are being ignored.
Some folks just don’t want to hear that, though. They think Marshall and Kaepernick and others need to choose a different venue to vent their frustrations. That venue? Not specified.
But at least a dialog has started between two sides of an issue that, to date, have managed to yell at but not connect with each other. The reasons are plentiful, and most are obvious, so no point in rehashing them here. What the issue needed was a connection point. The NFL could very well provide that. It’s one national predilection that crosses over just about every line that divides Americans. So there’s opportunity there for those that seize it and properly guide the narrative and communication.
But, as in football, there’s plenty of opportunities to fumble.
David Milberg is a financial analyst in NYC.