It didn’t take long for a buncha conservatives to get triggered after news surfaced on Monday of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s deal with Nike for its “Just Do It” advertisement campaign. They sliced the swoosh off of socks, shoes and shirts in temper tantrum shows for social media (Hey, if any of y’all have a size 12 pair of Nike Air Penny 2 kicks send them my way instead, yeah?).
But, where would all the right-wing antics be without Orange County?
Not to be left out, McGaugh Elementary School Principal Roni Ellis took to Facebook to show her displeasure with the athletic apparel corporation teaming with Kaepernick in celebrating 30 years of “Just Do It.” She literally ripped the Nike off her golfing shirt and added this classy caption. “My newest rag! When Nike signs an Anti-American thug to represent their brand, I will not support, wear, purchase or endorse their product. Bye-bye Nike.”
The Kaepernick ad that offended Ellis so challenged people to be willing to sacrifice everything for their beliefs. When the Seal Beach school principal’s anti-Nike Facebook post started to whip up a whiff of controversy, she displayed the courage of her convictions by taking it down.
Principal Ellis didn’t respond to the Weekly‘s request for comment, but Los Alamitos Unified Superintendent Sherry Kropp chimed in on the controversy.
“As the Superintendent, I take full responsibility for our leadership team,” Kropp says. “One person’s personal opinion on a personal Facebook page does not represent the values of our District, nor is it representative of our District’s mission and vision. However, I understand that what someone writes publicly does reflect on us and can damage the good work we are doing. We care deeply about all students and want them to thrive in a diverse society.”
Two years ago, Kaepernick began peacefully protesting police brutality by sitting during the national anthem before preseason games. After speaking with a military veteran who also once played for the National Football League, the quarterback decided to take a knee during the protest as a gesture of respect. Kaepernick, who took the 9ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, hasn’t played in the past two seasons and is suing the NFL for collusion. Ellis labeled the African-American athlete a “thug” despite his peaceful protests. Racist much?
A Change.org petition has gathered over 250 signatures. It voices displeasure with Ellis’ comments, but stops well short of any disciplinary demands. “We may disagree but we hope our Los Alamitos School leaders will always act civilly, treat each other with respect, and not engage in name calling,” the petition reads in taking umbrage with Ellis’ “thug” comment. “Our children view the teachers and principals as a beacon of moral character.”
Of course, there’s a Huntington Beach connection with Ellis who lives and worked there. She most recently served as Assistant Superintendent at Ocean View School District (OVSD) where she had been an elementary school principal for many years before. When the Mexican community of Oak View started organizing against Rainbow Environmental Services (Republic Services) over a foul-smelling trash dump near an elementary school, Ellis sided with Rainbow in the row over environmental racism.
“Rainbow has acted responsibly and compassionately,” she wrote in a letter to the South Coast Air Quality Management District in November 2015. “I do not believe they are being given a fair shake in this latest OVSD smear campaign.”
Los Alamitos Unified picked up Ellis to head McGaugh Elementary as the school’s principal two years ago after she parted ways with OVSD for a second time in 2015. Her new district has dealt with Kaepernick-inspired controversies before. In February, a student at Los Alamitos High School took a knee during the anthem at a winter sports assembly only to have a football player disrupt the protest by propping his classmate up.
The stunt earned him cheers from the gym bleachers and the jock became a mini-MAGA darling afterward.
My, how far the district has strayed since the days of backing Los Alamitos Elementary schoolteacher Ruth Bishop following a 1959 conviction for shooing a Long Beach cop off her porch with a broom!
Gabriel San Roman is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and tallest Mexican in OC.