Garieri Jewelers hoped to catch people's attention with a billboard in Charlton, Massachusetts, and they certainly did. The owners didn't bank on the death threats, however. As CBS Boston reports, the billboard in question shows a man kneeling on a football field as he proposes. "If you're going to take a knee this season, please have a ring in your hand!" it reads. (See an image here.) But touching on the controversial topic of NFL players kneeling soon brought out the critics. "In case we've forgotten about racism in New England," reads a tweet by the Rev. Laura Everett, executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, per Boston.com. "It's stunning to flip the NFL BLM protests, and turn it into a racist marketing opportunity."
Owner Scott Garieri says that criticism is tame in comparison to others, including one that read, "Alexandria why don't you just kill yourself?" in reference to his daughter. "That's when it started to get out of hand," Garieri tells the Washington Post. He finds it mind-boggling that people are accusing him of racism over a "play on words," and he insists that the billboard is not coming down early. Drivers can expect to see it through the NFL season. Coverage of the controversy notes that the store caught flak for a previous billboard pushing rings that read, "Make her speechless ... for a change." Garieri was accused of sexism, but "ironically, my daughter was the one who came up with that one." (Read more billboards stories.)