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A sheriff in Louisiana is taking a stand on the issue of whether NFL players should stand for the national anthem. Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington has told a local Ford dealership his department will stop buying Ford police vehicles as long as the automaker advertises with the NFL.
In a letter to Hixson Ford in Alexandria, Louisiana, Whittington wrote, "Yes, the NFL players have a right to protest as they deem necessary, but we, the Bossier Sheriff's Office and taxpayers of Bossier Parish have a right to spend our money elsewhere."
Last year, the Bossier Parish sheriff's office spent $346,519 buying 14 Ford police vehicles from Hixson Ford. In 2015, the department spent $400,612 buying 15 Ford models at an average price of $26,700.
While some have called for boycotting the NFL and its sponsors as long as the league allows players not to stand during the national anthem, this is one of the first public examples of a company losing business due to the controversy.
Ford became a partner of the NFL earlier this year and last year Ford Trucks signed a three-year sponsorship deal with the league.
Also, Bill Ford, the automaker's chairman, is vice chairman of the Detroit Lions NFL franchise. The Ford family has owned the football team for decades.
Since the controversy erupted last month, Ford has said it respects the rights of individuals to express their views. CNBC has reached out to the NFL to see if it has a comment on the Bossier Sheriff's office decision to boycott a league sponsor.
In announcing his decision, Whittington wrote, "Ford has been a part of American history, and has stood for American values. However, the 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."