Ford Motor Co., a major sponsor of the National Football League, issued a statement in support of free speech after player protests and President Donald Trump's call for a fan boycott.
"We respect individuals' rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share," Ford said in an emailed statement. "That's part of what makes America great."
The second-largest U.S. automaker's ties to the NFL include the naming rights to Ford Field, the home stadium for the Detroit Lions. The team is owned by Martha Firestone Ford, a member of the company's founding family, who called Trump's comments "negative and disrespectful" in a statement Sunday. The F-Series pickup line is the official truck of the NFL.