As players from the NFL continue to kneel during the national anthem in protest, a Sheriff in Louisiana is taking things a little further—boycotting companies that continue to support the NFL.
Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington told a local Ford dealership that his police department will stop buying Ford police vehicles as long as the carmaker advertises with the League.
Whittington wrote a letter to Hixson Ford in Alexandria, Louisiana, and said that the disrespect from NFL players has forced him to “take a stand.”
“Yes, the NFL players have a right to protest as they deem necessary, but we, the Bossier Sheriff’s Office and taxpayers of Bossier Parish have a right to spend our money elsewhere,” he wrote in the letter.
“The recent events surrounding the NFL, its players and their audacity to thumb their collective noses at the American flag, the American military as well as the obvious disdain for the profession of law enforcement in general forces me to take a stand,” Whittington wrote.
In 2016, the Bossier Parish sheriff’s office spent $346,519 buying 14 Ford police vehicles from Hixson Ford, according to CNBC. Back in 2015, the department spent $400,612 buying 15 Ford models at an average price of $26,700.
In the letter, Whittington also called on other law enforcement agencies and leaders to boycott Ford Motor Co. for supporting a “disrespectful National Football League.”
“NO MORE FORD MOTOR COMPANY VEHICLES,” the sheriff wrote in the post’s description.
The kneeling from NFL players was first started in September of last year by Colin Kaepernick to protest “police brutality” and “racial injustice,” but many fans have said it is not the place or time to do so.
As television ratings and stadium audience numbers continue to fall this season, this is one of the first public cases of an outside sponsor losing business due to the controversy, according to CNBC.
The letter posted publicly on the Sherriff’s official Facebook page has gone viral since it was first posted on Wednesday, Oct. 11. As of writing on Friday, the post has garnered 1.6 thousand reactions and over 1,118 shares.
Earlier this year, Ford became a partner of the NFL, while last year, Ford Trucks signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the league.
Amid the controversy, Ford has previously said that it respects the rights of individuals to express their views, CNBC reported.
In an updated post on Oct. 12, Whittington said that the Hixson Ford dealership had received his letter and told him that they were not aware of Ford’s support for the protesting NFL players.
Hixson, the Ford Dealership owner, told the sheriff that the protests concern him also and that he would be taking the letter with him to Detroit to present it to Ford Motor Co. leadership in the near future.