Fallen Dallas Police Officer Thrust Into National Debate Over Kaepernick Nike Ad

Mother of Patrick Zamarripa says says she found the Nike ad with Kaepernick to be disrespectful

The National Association of Police Organizations is calling for a Nike boycott in response to the endorsement deal between the apparel giant and Colin Kaepernick.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback started a wave of protests among NFL players during the national anthem over social injustice, police brutality and other social issues, prompting a flood of debate online.

READ: National Association of Police Organizations' Call for Boycott of Nike

Patrick Zamarripa, a Dallas police officer killed in the line of duty in the July 7, 2016 ambush, was brought into the social media debate about what real sacrifice looks like.

"This is what the new Nike ad should have looked like," Michael Mata, President of the Dallas Police Association, wrote in a tweet featuring a black and white photo of Zamarripa. "Turning down a $20 Million paycheck does not mean it "cost you everything," running to the sound of gunfire to protect the people protesting you is what a hero does, and it cost my friend everything."

Written over the photo is a line copied from Kaepernick's viral Nike ad: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

As of writing, Mata's photo has more than 200 retweets and two dozen comments.

Valerie Zamarripa, Patrick Zamarripa's mother, keeps the same picture of her son hanging on her wall — a daily reminder of the sacrifice he gave.

She says she did not expect to see that same photo tweeted by Mata and some in the Dallas Police Department.

“I cried when I saw that this morning,” she said with a smile. “It’s bittersweet to see his picture that I see every day here but with those words. It speaks all.”

She says she found the Nike ad with Kaepernick to be disrespectful.

"I don't see [Kaepernick] as a hero. What has he done?" she asked. "He's not sacrificing his life, or hasn't. So my son and the other officers and many other officers all over the world have sacrificed their life in the line of duty to protect innocent people."

In Kaepernick’s case the former player may have sacrificed his football career to speak out against social injustice and police brutality.

It is a cause Zamarripa understands.

“I think [Kaepernick] should’ve done it different, not on the field because they get paid millions of dollars,” she said referring to Kaepernick kneeling during the National Anthem.

But to know real sacrifice, she says, is to know her son and the four other officers killed in the July 7 attack.

“It cost him his life,” she said. “It cost the other officers their life too. $20,000,000 is it all about money? Why? What’s a life worth?”

The grieving mother said she hopes there’s a change when it comes to the face behind the message.

“Not just for my son but for others too,” she said. “If [Nike] wants to do something for them, call us. Maybe we can talk. Until then, I won’t be wearing my Nike things.”

Mata explained that his tweet was his own personal opinion and does not speak for the police union.

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