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Farm Bureau clarifies policy on Nike brand apparel

Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall (right) was interviewed by Pete Sousa on "News...
Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall (right) was interviewed by Pete Sousa on "News 10 This Morning." (Staff photo)(KWTX)
Published: Sep. 17, 2018 at 7:07 PM CDT
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Texas Farm Bureau spokesman Gene Hall Monday clarified an email sent to employees last week about the discontinued use of the Nike brand apparel.

The email read: "There is a wide range of viewpoints on the Nike controversy. Texas Farm Bureau and Affiliated Companies employees are asked to not wear Nike branded apparel while representing the companies. We are choosing to remove our companies from this controversy by discontinuing the use of Nike branded apparel for business purposes. The attire you choose on your own time is a personal matter."

Hall said Monday that Farm Bureau polo shirts that bear both the bureau’s logo and Nike’s signature Swoosh are no longer allowed for employees who work out in the field and with customers.

Instead, the organization has new shirt sporting only the Farm Bureau name.

The decision came on the heels of the launch of a controversial Nike ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines by taking a knee during the national anthem before each football game.

"When Nike decided to become embroiled in this controversy and build a very controversial marketing campaign, they brought us along with them and we've been concerned about this sort of thing for some time,” Hall said.

Hall said the Farm Bureau was getting complaints from customers and members who did not agree with Nike's campaign and questioned why the organization sported the Nike logo.

He said the Farm Bureau simply doesn’t want to appear to be taking sides in the controversy.

"We respect, I respect, all Americans who respect the flag and the anthem and stand for that. That certainly is within their rights, but also protesting is a uniquely American right and certainly the Farm Bureau is not saying or doing anything that would stand in the way or interfere with the rights of people to do that."