The Wolf Fastop gas station on North Virginia Street is raising eyebrows after posting a message on one side of their marquee stating “Officer Gutierrez standing for food is better than taking a knee.” On the other side of the sign, a photo of Calvin from the Calvin and Hobbes comic is seen urinating on the name “Kaepernick”.
This message comes as a response to the criticism University of Nevada, Reno, police officer, Antonio Gutierrez received after dressing as a caricature of Colin Kaepernick circulated social media, causing controversy.
The Halloween costume included a red shirt resembling a 49ers jersey, painted beard, an afro wig, fake nose and a sign that reads, “Will stand for food.”
The message has since been moved to one side of the marquee and the text has been changed to “Unemployed need job. Work good on his knees.” The photo of Calvin above the name “Kaepernick” remains.
“In the beginning, I had no problem with Kaepernick taking a knee, that’s his right and freedom of speech,” Moe Alazawi, manager of Wolf Fastop said. “It’s now getting out of hand every time you do something, this officer didn’t do anything. He was just wearing a costume and went to a costume party with his wife. […] I mean it’s getting out of hand and that’s why I put the sign for him.”
Monique Normand is the Persistence and Resilience Coordinator at The Center, Every Student, Every Story and she said she was shocked and surprised.
“I think something simple like ‘We support officer Gutierrez’ but putting in there hate messages about someone that others look up to and others feel strongly about is where the issue lies,” Normand said. “I would just say think twice about posting things like that, that can be seen as hateful messages or discriminatory messages.”
Alazawi has worked at Wolf Fast Stop for 17 years and does not believe the sign will affect business at Wolf Fastop.
“There is nothing to be concerned about,” Alazawi said. “We can’t speak our minds? Only Kaepernick can express his freedom of speech? We can’t express our freedom of speech? It has nothing to do with anything, it has nothing to do with Kaepernick he tried to do or what message he’s trying to think. I just thought people trashing this decent man for no reason.”
Karolina Rivas can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @karolinarrivas.