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Deputy's Widow Tells Heartbreaking Story About Nike Cap, Shames Kaepernick, Nike

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“I don’t know if you’ve ever attended a police funeral, but watching grown men who’ve seen the absolute worst things a civilian can imagine, break down and sob over the casket of their brother is an image that never leaves you.”

These are the words of the widow of an Arizona sheriff’s deputy who was not happy with the message Nike sent with its choice to present former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a hero.

Sherry Graham-Potter tragically lost her husband, Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Graham, in 2005, when he was hit by a vehicle as he struggled to restrain a suspect along a highway.

As she wrote in her viral Facebook post directed at Nike, Potter took up running to deal with her struggle with grief from the loss of her husband. And she always wore a black Nike cap as she did so.

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“That black cap became a symbol to me, it is sweat stained and it’s shape is gone, the buckle in the back barely closes; but that hat represents my family’s rise from the ashes,” Potter wrote on Facebook.

“It stands for the strength and the sacrifice we made loving a man who had a job that we all knew could end his life, every time he walked out that door. And it did.”

The way the word “sacrifice” was used in the Nike ad was especially painful for Potter.

Referring to Kaepernick, she said in an interview on “Fox & Friends,” “I think that sacrifice is something that you earn and it comes at a great price, and I just don’t believe that that price was paid in this case.”

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“This was a slap in the face to military, law enforcement, and their families as far as I’m concerned,” she said in the interview.

Many other Americans feel the same way. “Sacrifice” is not a word that should be thrown around lightly, or worse, used deceitfully as a virtue-signaling, money-making scheme.

In her letter to Nike, Potter wrote, “Colin Kapernick has the absolute right to protest anything he damn well pleases. I don’t dispute that for one second. My father, my husband and many, many friends have all served this country and were willing to fight for his right to kneel.

“But that right goes both ways. I also have a right to express my disgust at your decision to portray him as some kind of hero. What, exactly has Colin Kapernick sacrificed? His multi million dollar paycheck…? Nope, you already gave him one of those.

“His reputation? No, he’s been fawned over by celebrities and media alike. Funny, Tim Tebow was never called courageous when he knelt.”

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Potter, with her experience of a loved one who showed true sacrifice, did not hold Kaepernick in high esteem.

“This man has thrown his support behind divisive anti-police groups, and donated money directly to a fugitive from justice who escaped prison after killing a police officer. I question the judgement of anyone who would put someone this controversial and divisive at the head of an advertising campaign, but it isn’t my company to run,” Potter wrote.

Potter is definitely not the only customer Nike has lost over its incredibly misplaced endorsement. Nike should learn this from its critics: Americans are not happy with wealthy celebrities being applauded for their so-called “sacrifices,” while public safety officers and servicemen and women are disrespected and neglected.

“I don’t know if I’ll have the heart to ever get rid of this cap, but I will tell you this, I’ll never purchase another Nike product as long as I live,” Potter concluded. “You got this one wrong Nike, terribly, terribly wrong.”

They certainly did.

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Karista Baldwin studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice at the University of Dallas and the University of Texas at Dallas.
Karista Baldwin has studied constitutional law, politics and criminal justice at the University of Dallas and the University of Texas at Dallas. Before college, she was a lifelong homeschooler in the "Catholic eclectic" style.
Presidential Scholarship at the University of Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith