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Dallas Cowboys Face Criticism After Partnership With Black Rifle Coffee


The Dallas Cowboys are facing criticism after announcing a recent 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 that shows highlights of the team and a person wearing camouflage drinking out of a mug with the coffee company’s logo on it.

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

The announcement quickly drew backlash on social media, with critics noting it got here a day after a gunman on a rooftop killed seven people and injured dozens more at a Fourth of July celebration in Highland Park, Ailing., and lower than two months since a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers.

One Cowboys fan, Jackie Barrientes, 41, referring to the Uvalde mass killing, said she was shocked to see her team “partner with an organization that promotes the weapon that killed those children.”

Ms. Barrientes, who grew up in South Texas and continued to support the team even after moving to Baltimore, said in an interview on Thursday that she was now considering cheering for an additional N.F.L. team.

Seven people were killed and lots of more wounded in a mass shooting on the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb.

“I can’t find myself cheering for a team that’s just so tone deaf, that cares so little concerning the fans, that they might do that,” she said.

But other fans on Twitter defended the partnership, noting that Black Rifle Coffee usually gives money to groups for veterans, cops and their families.

The corporate said in an announcement on Thursday that the announcement had been long-planned and was “timed to coincide with the Independence Day holiday — America’s Team. America’s Coffee. America’s Birthday.”

Evan Hafer, the founder and chief executive of Black Rifle Coffee, said within the statement that his company and the Cowboys “share an unwavering commitment to supporting veterans and first responders and we look ahead to a successful partnership and an incredible season.”

The corporate was founded in 2014 by Mr. Hafer, a former Green Beret and C.I.A. contractor who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, and two fellow veterans who also served in those countries. This shouldn’t be the corporate’s first foray into sports partnerships. It recently announced deals with the skilled skateboarder Bucky Lasek and three NASCAR drivers.

The Cowboys didn’t reply to requests for an interview on Thursday.

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

The Cowboys have weathered other controversy over time, as in 2018, when Mr. Jones said his players can be required to face on the sphere for the playing of the national anthem and wouldn’t be allowed to remain within the locker room, which the N.F.L. had said was permitted.

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 2 funds to support the families of the victims of the shooting on the elementary school in Uvalde.

Black Rifle Coffee’s marketing language and embrace of conservative causes have drawn criticism lately, corresponding to when its C.E.O. appeared supportive of President Trump’s efforts to ban travel from predominantly Muslim countries.

The corporate’s website says it makes “freedom roasts” for “individuals who love America.” Its Silencer Smooth mix is sold in “rounds,” or coffee pods to the remainder of the world. The Murdered Out roast is claimed to be “for all of you night riders on the market” carrying out “midnight ops.”

Its merchandise also turned up through the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. A person wearing a tactical vest holding plastic restraints was photographed within the Senate chamber wearing a baseball hat with the Black Rifle logo.

After Kyle Rittenhouse, the Illinois teenager who fatally shot two people during protests in Kenosha, Wis., was released on a $2 million bail in November 2020, he was pictured wearing a Black Rifle Coffee T-shirt. People on Twitter tweeted the image on the Cowboys account this week.

Black Rifle drew backlash on the time and later said that it didn’t sponsor Mr. Rittenhouse, adding in a video statement from Mr. Hafer that “We’re not within the business of benefiting from tragedy.”

That, in turn, led to heat from conservatives who said the corporate must have supported Mr. Rittenhouse, who was later acquitted on all counts. The corporate estimates it lost between 3,000 and 6,000 subscribers, Mr. Hafer told The Recent York Times Magazine last 12 months.

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