Marine Protests Trail Blazers' Sponsor During In-Game Ceremony
Activists aimed at getting the Trail Blazers to "cut ties" with Oregon-based weapons company Leupold & Stevens "escalated those actions with a protest staged within the Moda Center" during Tuesday's game against the Bucks, according to Tim Brown of the Portland OREGONIAN. Josuee Hernandez, a sergeant in the U.S. Marines, was honored during the Leupold & Stevens-sponsored "Hometown Heroes" segment "on the jumbotron in the arena as well as on the television broadcast." Hernandez "immediately unzipped his sweatshirt to reveal a T-shirt which read 'End This Sponsorship' followed by the '#NoLeupold' hashtag." Protesters are upset Leupold & Stevens has a "contract to supply sniper rifle scopes" to Israel (Portland OREGONIAN, 11/8). After unzipping his sweatshirt, Hernandez "took a knee, refused the gift bag thrust at him ... and looked deadpan out toward a confused crowd." Hernandez said that he "applied to be honored at the game explicitly to stage a protest." Hernandez: "We should not feel honored by being gifted a bag of trinkets and then paraded in front of an audience." Hernandez is a "member of the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America," which has pledged to "continue protesting" until the team ends the sponsorship (WWEEK.com, 11/7).