A local car dealer has asked 9NEWS and KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs to stop airing their ads featuring Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller.
While Phil Long Dealership may not have fired Von Miller because of his choice to kneel, they're sure not resigning him because of it.
KOAA-TV originally reported the dealership was 'firing' Miller from his endorsement deal and he would no longer represent the company because of his decision to kneel during the National Anthem ahead of Sunday's loss against the Buffalo Bills.
Editor's Note, 1:00 p.m.: KOAA has received an update from the dealership, which says the ads were pulled instead due to "contract negotiations."
Around 3:40 p.m., Phil Long sent 9NEWS a statement on their negotiations with Miller.
Here is the entire statement from Phil Long:
"We are evaluating the events of the weekend. It is important to state that we haven't fired Von. We are in the middle of contract renewal and this weekend's events remind us that sometimes we feel that we best represent ourselves. We support Von and his first amendment rights, we know Von and he's a good person. He donated a police car to his hometown police dept. All that notwithstanding when we bring in celebrities to represent us we run the risk of being misinterpreted.We, like millions of Americans are concerned and will respond consistently with our values as a proud American company founded by a war hero (Phil Long). While we can't control the actions of others we can be responsible for how we support our nation and community. That is why, years ago, our principal owner, Jay Cimino, founded the Mount Carmel Veteran's Service center, and is supported by all Phil Long Dealerships. We support this cause not just with our words, but financially as well, and it is serving hundreds of veterans in need right here in Colorado. This would be a great time for our community to show support for our military community by supporting this cause of others that continue to serve them after they serve us."
Roughly half of the players on the Broncos took a knee during the anthem in response to a speech from President Donald Trump on Friday, who called the NFL players who knelt in protest of social injustice “sons of b------“ who should be “fired.”
After the game, Miller called Trump’s comments an “assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech.”
"Collectively, we felt like we had to do something for this game, if not any other game, if not in the past, in the future,” Miller said. “At this moment in time, we felt like, as a team, we had to do something.
We couldn’t just let things go. I have a huge respect for the military, our protective services and everything. I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve met real-life superheroes. It wasn’t any disrespect to them, it was for our brothers that have been attacked for things that they do during the game, and I felt like I had to join them on it.''
Broncos Insider Mike Klis reports Miller has not had a deal with Phil Long since March.
The Denver Broncos protest was one mirrored by multiple other teams in the league, including the Jacksonville Jaguars, who locked arms during the national anthem.
The entire Pittsburgh Steelers team, with the exception of former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva, stayed in the locker room during the Star Spangled Banner.
Denver Broncos Chief Executive Officer Joe Ellis issued a statement on Saturday night supporting his players for taking a stand on social issues:
“Our players have shown a tremendous commitment to raising awareness for important societal issues by using their platform in a positive way,’’ Ellis stated. “In addition to their hard work off the field, we have great admiration for their dedication to making our team the absolute best it can be. They’ve made incredible sacrifices to reach this level, and we recognize they give their all to our team and our fans each and every day.
As an organization, we could not be more proud, appreciative and grateful for our players. We’ll continue to support them and work together to advocate for values of respect, diversity and inclusion.”
Trump tweeted Monday morning that he was “proud” of NASCAR, which took a firm stance against the protests.
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Later, he tweeted: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall lost two endorsements when he chose to take a knee during the National Anthem last year.
Both CenturyLink and the Air Academy Federal Credit Union terminated their agreements with Marshall over his protests – a loss of around $32,500.
At this point, it’s unclear how much Miller’s endorsement deal with Phil Long is worth. The linebacker signed a six-year contract worth $114.5 million with the Broncos last year.
In addition to Colorado Springs, Phil Long has dealerships in Denver, Trinidad and Raton, New Mexico.