The reaction to an innovative businessman trying to inject a little levity into what has proven to be a dark, divisive campaign to protest perceived injustices is going a long way toward exposing the political aspirations of NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.
Garieri Jewelers, located in Sturbridge, Mass., erected a billboard of a man proposing to a woman on the football field, along with the selling point: “If you’re going to take a knee this season, please have a ring in your hand!”
Owner Scott Garieri told local Fox affiliate Boston 25 News that the initial reaction was positive, at least until someone posted a photo of the billboard on the wasteland of social media, deeming it to be racist.
“Someone saw it, pulled in off Route 20 and took a picture of it and went off about how racist it is,” Garieri said. “Then they started attacking us, they wanted to come in and vomit on the [jewelry] cases, they were going to urinate on our sidewalks.”
Here’s one such example of the unhinged response seen:
It’s stunning to flip the NFL BLM protests, and turn it into a racist marketing opportunity. Poor form @GarieriJewelers & @CCOutdoorNA. (Same Massachusetts business who posted this sexist ad in Nov 2017). pic.twitter.com/oETnLJhNzK
— Rev. Laura Everett (@RevEverett) September 3, 2018
He said things “started to get out of hand” when his daughter, Alexandria, who runs the store, came under attack, with a social media user saying she should kill herself.
But then, that perfectly encapsulates the state of politics today when you offend the radical left.
“We want to sell engagement rings. We’re selling love, not hate,” Alexandria Garieri told the Washington Post. “We were never wanting to be offensive, it was always meant to be satirical.”
The senior Garieri said the billboard was intended as a clever “play on words,” and a tweet posted on the company’s Twitter account said it was staying up.
We are not taking our billboard down. Thankyou everyone for the support we appreciate it so much! We are trying to answer everyone but we are just so busy! We hope everyone understands and Thankyou again !
— GarieriJewelers💎 (@GarieriJewelers) September 8, 2018
“It wasn’t meant to be racist, business is business,” he said.
It didn’t help matter that it was erected right before Nike’s controversial ad featuring radically left former NFL player Colin Kaepernick aired, which stoked emotions over the issue of kneeling.
“I’m a firm believer in respecting the country, respecting the flag, respecting the national anthem,” Garieri added.
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