Amid a backdrop of protests and boycotts, a black police union has come to the defense of controversial Nike pitchman and original anthem protester Colin Kaepernick.
In a letter published on Wednesday, Sonia Y.W. Pruitt, a police lieutenant in Maryland and chairperson of the National Black Police Association, wrote a on behalf of her organization and in support of Kaepernick.
In contrast to other police organizations — such as the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) — who have boycotted Nike. Pruitt’s letter clearly stated that the NBPA thinks Kaepernick’s cause should be embraced by law enforcement.
On the contrary. NBPA believes that Mr. Kaepernick’s stance is in direct alignment with what law enforcement stands for — the protection of a people, their human rights, their dignity, their safety and their rights as American citizens.
That NAPO has chosen this matter to take a stance, only perpetuates the narrative that police are racist, with no regard, acknowledgment, respect, or understanding of the issues and concerns of the African American community.
Pruitt told the Washington Post that in the debate swirling around law enforcement and social issues, she feels that the perspective of black police officers has not been adequately taken into account.
“As black officers, we often find ourselves riding the wave with other officers, but no one has asked us what our opinion is,” Pruitt explained. “On many of these social issues we disagree, but nobody knows that, because the assumption is that if you’re a police officer that you all think the same way.”
In their statement calling for a boycott of Nike, the National Association of Police Organizations mocked the notion that Colin Kaepernick had sacrificed anything, as the Nike campaign ad suggests.
That particular part of the NAPO’s statement, touched a nerve with Pruitt.
“The African American community makes a sacrifice each time a life is unjustly lost at the hands of the very people who should protect them,” Pruitt wrote. “A sacrifice is made each time the criminal justice system treats people of color as less than. A sacrifice is made each time a letter is sent asking officers to boycott a corporation, without asking those very African American officers who are most affected, what their opinion is.”
NBC plans to air the first commercial of Kaepernick’s ad campaign, during Thursday night’s season opener between the Eagles and the Falcons.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn