DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday tweeted a promotion, which included two tickets to a game and a one-year subscription to Black Rifle Coffee, and it garnered mixed reaction online.
"#CowboysNation, please welcome America’s Coffee to America’s Team. We are celebrating America’s birthday all week long by giving away ✌️ tickets to a #DallasCowboys home game & a ☝️-year subscription to @blckriflecoffee!," the Cowboys tweeted.
The tweet came one day after a gunman opened fire on a crowd in the Chicago area and a little more than a month after the deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which prompted people to call the ad by the Cowboys "poor timing," "a bad look" and "a bad decision."
Black Rifle has gun-themed names for its coffee blends, such as AK Espresso and Silencer Smooth.
Here is a look at some of the reaction online:
Who is Black Rifle Coffee and why are people upset about the contest promotion?
Black Rifle Coffee was founded in 2014 by former U.S. Army Green Beret Evan Hafer.
According to the company's website, the coffee maker's mission statement says:
"Black Rifle Coffee Company serves coffee and culture to people who love America. We develop our explosive roast profiles with the same mission focus we learned as military members serving this great country and are committed to supporting veterans, law enforcement, and first responders. With every purchase you make, we give back."
Black Rifle Coffee's roast flavors include gun-centric names like “AK-47 Espresso,” “Silencer Smooth,” and “Murdered Out.” Other roast names include "Freedom Fuel," "Freedom Roast," "Medal of Honor," "Blackbeard's Delight."
The New York Times profiled Hafer in July of 2021 and how the company has emerged as a popular brand in right-wing circles. The NYT article explores how Black Rifle Coffee's brand was linked to the Jan. 6 insurrection – Mat Best, the company’s 34-year-old executive vice president say unfairly so – via a man dubbed “zip-tie guy,” later identified as 30-year-old Tennessean Eric Munchel. The NYT article dives further into Hafer and the company distancing the brand from the incident and the dilemma of building a pro-Second Amendment, pro-America brand in the MAGA era.
It wasn't the first time Black Rifle Coffee has faced social media criticism, though.
Elijah Schaffer, a reporter for The Blaze, tweeted an image in 2020 of Kyle Rittenhouse – the Illinois teenager who was acquitted of all charges in the fatal shootings of two people at a Wisconsin B.L.M. protest – wearing a Black Rifle Coffee Company shirt with the caption, “Kyle Rittenhouse drinks the best coffee in America.” with an accompanying discount code for the coffee company. Speculation from viewers then started claiming Black Rifle Coffee Company was sponsoring Rittenhouse. Hafer took to social media to say those rumors were meritless, and addressed the relationship with Blaze media moving forward.
Here is a look at that statement from 2020:
Black Rifle Coffee also says it focuses on hiring veterans to help those service members successfully transition from the military into entrepreneurship.
Black Rifle Coffee owns three brick-and-mortar stores in the DFW area: one in Plano, one in North Richland Hills and one in Bedbrook. Black Rifle Coffee is also found in Quik Trip convenience stores in the DFW metroplex.
WFAA requested comment from the Dallas Cowboys regarding the tweet, and a team spokesperson sent WFAA the following statement from Black Rifle Coffee:
"BRCC is proud to partner with the Dallas Cowboys who are strongly committed to our mission of supporting Veterans, first responders, and America’s men and women in uniform. The long-planned announcement was timed to coincide with the Independence Day holiday – America’s Team. America’s Coffee. America’s Birthday."