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Von Miller loses car dealership endorsement deal, but not over anthem protest

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Broncos linebacker Von Miller did not lose an endorsement deal with Phil Long Dealerships after Sunday’s national anthem protest.

KOAA-TV in Colorado Springs reported Monday morning that Miller was “fired from his endorsement deal and will no longer represent the company” after KOAA and other stations in Colorado, including KDVR and KWGN, were asked to remove the ads featuring Miller.

In a statement, the company said the two sides are in the middle of contract renewal, which is why the ads were removed.

“We are evaluating the events of the weekend. It is important to state that we haven’t fired Von,” Phil Long Dealerships said in a statement to KRDO.

“We are in the middle of contract renewal and this weekend’s events remind us that sometimes we feel that we best represent ourselves.”

“We support Von and his first amendment rights, we know Von and he’s a good person. He donated a police car to his hometown police dept. All that notwithstanding, when we bring in celebrities to represent us, we run the risk of being misrepresented.

We, like millions of Americans, are concerned and will respond consistently with our values as a proud American company founded by a war hero (Phil Long). While we can’t control the actions of others we can be responsible for how we support our nation and community.

“That is why, years ago, our principal owner, Jay Cimino, founded the Mount Carmel Veteran’s Service Center, and is supported by all Phil Long Dealerships. We support this cause not just with our words, but financially as well, and it is serving hundreds of veterans in need right here in Colorado. This would be a great time for our community to show support for our military community by supporting this cause or others that continue to serve them after they serve us.”

Miller was one of 32 Broncos players who took a knee for the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills after President Donald Trump’s comments.

Nearly 200 players across the NFL who took a took a knee during the anthem before games Sunday in response to Trump’s comments.

At a rally on Friday night in Alabama, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired.'”

RELATED: Broncos fans react after several members of team kneel for national anthem

“We felt like President Trump’s speech was an assault on our most cherished right, freedom of speech,” Miller said after Sunday’s 26-16 loss to the Bills.

“Collectively, we felt like we had to do something for this game, if not any other game, if not in the past, in the future. At this moment in time, we felt like, as a team, we had to do something.

“We couldn’t just let things go. I have a huge respect for the military, our protective services and everything. I’ve been to Afghanistan, I’ve met real-life superheroes. It wasn’t any disrespect to them, it was for our brothers that have been attacked for things that they do during the game, and I felt like I had to join them on it.”

This isn’t the first time a Broncos player has lost an endorsement deal for protesting.

Last year, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was dropped by Air Academy Federal Credit Union and then, CenturyLink terminated its contract with Marshall.

Marshall wrote that he took a knee for the anthem to protest social injustice.

Phil Long Dealerships has locations in Denver, Colorado Springs,  Trinidad and Raton, New Mexico.

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