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Arizona DPS head Milstead defends tweet criticizing Nike, Kaepernick ad

Arizona Department of Public Safety head Col. Frank Milstead. (AP Photo)

PHOENIX — The head of the Arizona Department of Public Safety spoke out about his tweet that criticized Nike’s latest campaign featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Col. Frank Milstead, during an interview on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Friday, defended the tweet, which featured the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” over a photo of trooper Tyler Edenhofer, who was killed in July after a struggle with a suspect.

Milstead said he sent the tweet in order to support the men and women who “truly do make the ultimate sacrifice when their lives are taken in the line of duty.

“That’s a sacrifice, when you don’t get to have Christmas with your kids anymore or Thanksgiving with your mom,” he added.

Milstead said he believes Kaepernick “is entitled” to his opinion about law enforcement and what he wants to do during the national anthem, but he also believes “in the notability of policing and I believe you respect the flag and stand for the national anthem.”

Kaepernick became a national figure in 2016, when he went down on one knee during the anthem before a San Francisco 49ers game. Kaepernick has described his behavior as a protest against racial injustice in the United States, particularly involving law enforcement, not a protest against the anthem.

Nike revealed this week that Kaepernick was the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.

The endorsement deal between Nike and Kaepernick prompted a flood of debate.

It was a trending topic on Twitter and other social networks, with some fans urging a boycott of the company’s clothes and sneakers — even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear.

President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of protesting NFL players, tweeted Wednesday that Nike is getting “killed” over the endorsement deal.

“Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump tweeted. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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