Louisiana sheriff calls for boycott of Ford over NFL national anthem protests


Bossier Parish, La., Sheriff Julian C. Whittington (above left) isn't happy with Ford Motor Company's position on NFL players protesting during the national anthem. Sheriff Whittington wrote a letter to Hixson Ford in Alexandria, La., to inform them that "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 their obvious disdain for the profession of law enforcement in general, forces me to take a stand." That "stand" means the refusal to purchase any more Ford vehicles after FoMoCo issued a statement on the matter that didn't condemn the protests.

Last month, President Trump said the NFL should fire players that don't stand for the anthem. Ford issued two statements in response, the second one saying, "We respect individuals' rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share. That's part of what makes America great."

In response, Whittington's letter to local dealer Hixson Ford says, "The Bossier Sheriff's Office will no longer purchase Ford vehicles as long as Ford sides with those who have no regard for the men and women who protect and serve this great nation." (One ex-Green Beret and NFL player has a slightly different take.) According to reports, the Bossier Sheriff's Department purchased 29 Fords from Hixson Auto Group through 2016 and 2017, spending $747,132. After posting the letter on the department's Facebook page, a subsequent post said Dallas L. Hixson replied that "such a stance concerns him as well, and he will be taking the Sheriff's letter with him to Detroit to present to Ford Motor Co. leadership in the near future."

Ford hasn't responded publicly to the matter yet, but the automaker's in a tough position: The Ford family owns the Detroit Lions, Ford Trucks signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the NFL last year, and Ford Motor Company signed on as an official partner of the NFL.

Whittington addressed his letter to the other 63 sheriff's departments in Louisiana, as well as to the state, national, and international sheriff's associations. As for their responses, as of writing, only Sheriff John Ballance of Bienville Parish had answered a query from KTBS, telling the station, "Let's put it this way ... We have one choice in Bienville Parish, and it's a Ford dealership, and I'm not riding a horse!"

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