Seal Beach, CA – A California elementary school principal is being criticized because she posted a photo of a cut-up Nike T-shirt and complained about Nike featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in its latest marketing campaign.
Nike's new ad campaign features Kaepernick with the words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
Kaepernick's "sacrifice" is an apparent reference to the former NFL player's inability to get re-hired after voluntarily quitting the NFL.
The "believe in something," is an apparent reference to Kaepernick calling police officers murderers, and kneeling in protest to the American flag.
Elementary School principal Roni Burns-Ellis wrote on Facebook, “My newest rag! When Nike signs an anti-American thug to represent their brand, I will not support, wear, purchase or endorse their product. Bye-bye Nike.”
Some parents in the Los Alamitos Unified School District responded by creating a petition over the Facebook post.
The online petition “Los Alamitos Unified School Leaders – Please lead by example!” was started Tuesday and had 1,982 signatures as of 6:25 p.m. Sunday. The petition reads, in part: “We may disagree but we hope our Los Alamitos School leaders will always act civilly, treat each other with respect, and not engage in name calling. Our children view the teachers and principals as a beacon of moral character. We hope our school leaders will act responsibly and will walk with kindness as they lead our children with their actions.”
The petition also questioned the use of the word “thug” to describe Kaepernick.
The petition stated, “In the Webster's dictionary, ‘thug’ was the name given by the British in India in the 19th century to a member of a band of thieves and murderers.”
Burns-Ellis apologized Thursday afternoon. She said she never meant to offend anyone and was regretful that she used the word “thug.”
She also removed the post.
The school district’s superintendent released a statement.
"We need to always be conscientious about approaching differences in a respectful manner and about the use and impact of social media," Superintendent Sherry Kropp said, according to KABC-TV. "I understand that what someone writes publicly does reflect on us and can damage the good work we are doing. We care deeply about all students and want them to thrive in a diverse society."
Some parents defended Burns-Ellis.
“I agree with her. Everything she’s done. I mean Colin Kaepernick, he’s disrespected the military, disrespected this nation just by kneeling during the anthem. You don’t do that. That’s disrespectful,” said parent William Haughland, according to KABC.
Ellis said on her Facebook page that she is married to retired Long Beach Fire Department Chief Dave Ellis.
Blue Lives Matter has joined others in calling for a boycott of Nike.
“The choice of Colin Kaepernick by Nike to be 'the Face' of their 30th Anniversary Campaign is an affront to every American law enforcement officer," Blue Lives Matter's National Spokesman, Randy Sutton said.
"Nike’s pandering to Kaepernick’s brand of politically correct hate mongering against those who serve this Nation behind a badge and the disrespect he has sown to the symbols of love of our country reveals how corrupt Nike has become," Sutton added. "When an organization is more concerned with profits than with the values of justice and service that thousands have given their lives to preserve, they reveal what they truly stand for….greed and dishonor.”