Dallas Cowboys face criticism after partnership with Black Rifle Coffee

The Dallas Cowboys face criticism after announcing a new partnership with Black Rifle Coffee, the veteran-owned brand popular with conservatives and gun owners that sells roasts with names like “AK Espresso,” “Murdered Out” and “Silencer Smooth.” .

The Cowboys announced the partnership on Twitter on Tuesday with a video showing team highlights and a man dressed in camouflage drinking from a mug bearing the coffee company’s logo.

“Please welcome America’s Coffee to America’s Team,” the team said.

The announcement quickly sparked a backlash on social media, with critics noting that it came a day after a gunman on a roof killed seven people and injured dozens more at a Fourth of July celebration in Highland Park. Illinois, and less than two months since a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers.

A Twitter user who described herself as a fan of the third generation team said in a reply to the jeans post that the ad was a “line in the sand”. She wrote: “This is the only team I’ve cheered for my entire life, despite letting me down for decades.”

She added: “I cannot support this. If the Cowboys don’t rescind this, I’m done.”

But other fans on Twitter defended the association, noting that Black Rifle Coffee regularly gives money to groups for veterans, police officers and their families.

The company said in a statement Thursday that the announcement had been long planned and was “timed to coincide with the Independence Day holiday – Team USA. American coffee. America’s Birthday.”

Evan Hafer, founder and CEO of Black Rifle Coffee, said in the statement that his company and the Cowboys “share an unwavering commitment to supporting veterans and first responders and we look forward to a successful partnership and a great season.”

The company was founded in 2014 by Mr. Hafer, a former Green Beret and CIA contractor who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and two fellow veterans who also served in those countries. This is not the company’s first foray into sports associations. He recently announced deals with professional skateboarder Bucky Lasek and three NASCAR drivers.

The Cowboys did not respond to interview requests Thursday.

Team owner Jerry Jones emphasized the veterans in a statement Wednesday. “Every cup of coffee in the stadium, every bag of Cowboys coffee sold, represents a step in fulfilling Black Rifle’s mission,” said Mr. Jones.

The Cowboys have weathered other controversy over the years, such as in 2018, when Mr. Jones said his players would be required to stand on the field to hear the national anthem and would not be allowed to remain in the locker room, what the NFL had said was allowed.

The team has also responded to growing public alarm about gun violence. In June, the Cowboys announced that the team would donate $200,000 each to two funds to support the families of the victims of the Uvalde Elementary School shooting.

Black Rifle Coffee’s marketing language and embrace of conservative causes have drawn criticism in recent years, such as when the company backed President Trump’s efforts to ban travel from predominantly Muslim countries.

The company’s website says it makes “freedom roasts” for “people who love America.” Their Silencer Smooth blend is sold in “rounds” or coffee pods to the rest of the world. The Murdered Out roast is said to be “for all you night riders” who run “midnight ops.”

His merchandise also appeared during the January 6 attack on the Capitol. A man wearing a tactical vest with plastic restraints was photographed in the Senate chamber wearing a Black Rifle logo baseball cap.

After Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who fatally shot two people during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was released on $2 million bail in November 2020, he was photographed wearing a Black Rifle Coffee T-shirt. people on twitter he tweeted the image on the Cowboys’ account this week.

Black Rifle sparked a backlash at the time and later said it did not sponsor Rittenhouse, adding in a video statement from Hafer that “we’re not in the business of profiting from tragedy.”

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