Florida Jeweler Wades Into Football Fracas

St. Petersburg, Fla.–based Diamonds Direct Fine Jewelers has grabbed hold of the latest political football—in every sense of the term—by announcing it will pull its ads from future NFL games.

Diamonds Direct’s message, posted on Facebook on Monday, said it will “not be purchasing advertisements during any NFL games until the organization respects the flag and anthem.” (One-store Diamonds Direct has no relation to the national chain; the two companies are currently in litigation.)

“We 100% support the right to protest and the fight against injustices in our nation,” said the message, issued on behalf of founder and CEO Gary Sanchez, a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. “But we do not at all support disrespecting the American flag and national anthem in the process. Share if you agree.”

At press time, Diamonds Direct’s post—which it paid to promote on Facebook and was illustrated with a picture of Sanchez, armed and in his Coast Guard uniform—had received 3,500 likes, 1,215 shares, and 385 comments.

Most expressed support, with some vowing to buy a diamond there. Some complained the protesters are “rich” and “whiners.”

Yet, with the country polarized and many citizens angry and divided, the reaction was not all positive, with an equally vociferous group of posters taking issue with both the post and the store.

“It’s not about disrespecting the flag or the national anthem,” wrote one. “It is about drawing attention to inequality in our nation and it has certainly done that…America affords its citizens the constitutionally protected right to protest. Why would any American not support our freedoms under the Constitution?”

Others felt that Diamonds Direct was simply expressing its Constitutional right, like the players were: “All you people who sit there and say they have a right to protest are 100% correct. Gary also has the right to do what he wants with his business.”

And some lamented how much politics—and politicians—are currently breaking the country apart.

“Congratulations to both sides,” wrote one person. “We are already divided and now after reading the above, I see that the division has morphed to the Grand Canyon. This is no longer a discussion about who or what ‘matters,’ it is no longer a discussion. Nobody wins, everybody loses.”

But amid all the rancor, there were at least attempts at dialogue.

One poster wrote: “I’m curious why you chose this particular issue to take a stance against. I don’t recall you speaking out against the Nazis who disrespected our flag by carrying it in their march in Charlottesville while they touted white supremacy. They incited violence, but the NFL players are protesting peacefully, the American way.”

Diamonds Direct replied: “Had [the white supremacists] marched and disrespected the flag on our time and dollar during a program our business supported, we would have 100% pulled advertising from such program and would have announced doing so on Facebook, except with more wrath and anger than in this case. We believe white supremacy has no place in our country and we actually support the argument the football players are making but we still see not standing for the flag as a sign of disrespect.”

Diamonds direct storefront

Sanchez told JCK that he wasn’t taking a political stand, and he feels that the decision on whether to fire the players should be up to the owners.

“My intention has nothing to do with politics,” he says. “I support what the players are saying. I’m ex-military, and I just object to the players disrespecting the flag, and I object to the NFL facilitating it.”

Last week, President Trump restarted the debate on the protest when he called on the National Football League to fire players who take a knee during the playing of the national anthem, describing them as “sons of b—-es.” Polls show Americans divided on the subject, with 61 percent disagreeing with the President that the NFL should fire kneeling players.

Diamonds Direct is not the first company to wade into controversial waters. Earlier this year, Tiffany expressed its support for remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

(First picture courtesy of Getty Images; second, Diamonds Direct)

JCK News Director


  • Rami Sabatini

    Hypocrisy is ignorance, you support the right to protest and the fight against injustices in our nation yet you stand against who practice that right. #cofeve

    • leroymckin

      When you work for the private sector and your employer is not the
      government, the Constitution gives you zero protection in terms of
      keeping your job based on what you say. Private employees — including NFL players — can be disciplined or
      fired for speech, opinions and political affiliations expressed at work
      or outside work.

      • Alo Stein

        Leroy, that’s correct. unless I missed a post, I’m not sure who you’re answering. Rami didn’t mention anything about the law.

      • chuckles the clown

        That’s true … though it’s hypocritical for Trump to make that argument, because when Univision cancelled his Miss Universe contract for his comments about Mexicans, he turned around and sued, and called it “a politically motivated attempt to suppress Mr. Trump’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment.”

        http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/donald-trump-sues-univision-500-806075

    • Jschow

      Of course we support their right to demonstrate and their right to disrespect the country But, if you disrespect my country, you disrespect me. And their lame reason is to bring attention to the terrible country we live in. Well then, get off you knees, put on your big boy pants and get to work fixing it.

  • bob

    I don’t see it as a disrespect in anyway they are just praying we will remain free under this adminstration

    • Grier Fleischhauer

      I support that….PLEASE Trump keep us free from the liberal fascist –antifa

  • Steve Hawkins

    Everyone except a real racist (Like Dimocrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel, ya know the guy who watches a black kid get shot 16 times and tries to cover it up, ya know Obama’s boy.) is against the institutional racism. Totally support DD because the players are doing it on our paid time, and their paid time. Support the players wanting to do away with injustices. But picking on the flag is stoopid. My uncle was cut to shreds over Normandy, and I lost a brother in Vietnam. It’s my right to say that and my prerogative to not want to see that flag disrespected.

  • Lapidary Artist

    The idea that a piece of cloth and a musical song have such profound meanings that are not beyond criticism is absurd. The picture of Mr Sanchez dressed in some sort of military style clothing, armed with an assault type weapon is an extremely threatening way of voicing an opinion.

    • Jschow

      Wow, a piece of cloth and a song. I don’t know where you grew up but here in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, we have an National Anthem. It is sung to show our love for our country. The flag is the symbol of this great country. For you to dismiss both as meaningless, is, to use your term, absurd.

      • Lapidary Artist

        Meanings are not beyond criticism or discussion, but that does not mean they are dismissed.
        I don’t believe the actions of those NFL players are intended to disrespect you, simply to draw attention to perhaps what Bob sardonically notes below.
        Lets not forget that deeds done in the name of patriotism can be as dangerous as deeds done in the name of other …isms.

  • JT Curtiss

    I too will not be running any television ads during NFL games. 🙂

    I do suggest that the protestors educate themselves about what really needs protesting and maybe try to use their influence to actually do something to help rather than just draw attention to their virtue-signaling selves…here’s a good primer for their consideration:

    http://nypost.com/2017/09/26/all-that-kneeling-ignores-the-real-cause-of-soaring-black-homicides/

    #NFL=NoFansLeft

  • Let me get this straight…the top 5%* best-paid people in the US are protesting inequality minutes before they walk into a situation where they will earn $30,000 / hour.
    *I’m guessing at their relative income.

    Said differently, these guys are protesting inequality during an event that is arguably the best shining example in the United States of an organization and a tribe that has overcome racism.

    So, where Gandhi starved himself to create change and Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life, these multi-million dollar football players are doing their part to change the world by protesting the one moment during the game that everyone can be united under the same cause.

    Hmmm.