Controversial Jewelry Store Billboard References NFL Protests

A billboard advertising a Massachusetts jewelry store has stirred up some controversy.

The advertisement on Route 20 in Charlton, promoting Farieri Jewelers in Sturbridge, shows a man proposing on one knee on a football field.

"If you're going to take a knee this season, please have a ring in your hand," the billboard reads.

"It takes a little kick on what's going on with the NFL, and just kind of bringing it into our industry," said store owner Scott Garieri.

But what may have been Garieri's intention of a lighthearted joke, playing off of Colin Kaepernick's protest of kneeling during the national anthem, has been interpreted very differently by some people.

"That's crazy. I mean, I don't really understand it, they really picking on Kaepernick," said Taron Sumlin. "At the end of the day, he stood up for what he believed in."

"Because that's disrespectful because he took a knee, and people have got their own opinion, but it's just very disrespectful," added Chris Honeywood.

"They could probably think of something classier to use than talking about something so controversial," said Melissa McDonald.

Garieri says his daughter, who also works at the small, family-owned jewelry store, received death threats after trying to explain the billboard to commenters online.

"It's not meant to be racist, it's just -- it's a billboard," said Garieri. "We're just trying to poke fun at a little something, get a little attention, do a little business."

Garieri says while he wasn't trying to make a political statement, he also doesn't agree with NFL players kneeling in protest.

"When it comes down," said Garieri, "if I have to make a choice, I'm going to stand behind the veterans of the United States."

Despite the controversy, Garieri says he has no intentions of taking the billboard down.

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