Gold Star family speaks out against Nike ad

Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The latest “Just Do It” campaign by Nike has a lot of people divided, including a Gold Star mother in Oregon who lost her son, 21-year-old Marine Ty Hart.

The Nike ad narrated by Colin Kaepernick highlights stories of athletes overcoming illness or disabilities. 

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” he says.

Fallen Marine Ty Hart will be laid to rest on his family’s Aumsville farm. (Facebook)

Trina Hart and her family made the ultimate sacrifice on January 14, 2016, when her son died in a helicopter crash. 

“He is always missing and nothing fills it,” Hart said. “So when someone diminishes or makes like of sacrificing everything, it’s very offensive and hurtful.”

Hart’s frustration is not focused on the controversy of kneeling during the national anthem, which Kaepernick has been at the center of — but on that word “Sacrificing.”

“Everything is your life,” she said. “My son sacrificed his life. Those other 11 men the night my son died sacrificed their lives. I’m sorry, I don’t find any ‘sacrificing everything’ in what Colin Kaepernick did.”

Ty was a dedicated athlete, and Hart said 80-90% of his gear was Nike. 

In a time when words and influence matter, Hart believes Nike should use both to apologize. 

Fallen Marine Ty Hart was laid to rest in an honor burial service at his family’s Aumsville home, April 17, 2016. (KOIN)

“They need to fix what they did,” Hart said. “They owe America an apology. They owe Gold Star families an apology.”

Read Trina Hart’s full letter to Nike:

Dear Nike,

Let me tell you about sacrifice!!!!! This is the ultimate definition of it. Right there lies a huge piece of my family. Our son, LCPL Ty Hart. Only 21 years old. Only married 7 months.

I am sure you have heard his name….. He grew up 60 miles from your head quarters and even worked on a landscape crew there during the summer. When his casket came home covered by our American flag, the whole state of Oregon watched.

Ty Hart, a Stayton HS grad who is missing after a Marine helicopter crash in Hawaii (Alan Kirby, Facebook)
Ty Hart, a Stayton HS grad who is missing after a Marine helicopter crash in Hawaii (Alan Kirby, Facebook)

Everything for us has changed. Death does that to a family. Time does not heal. When your missing a family member you don’t get used to it. You try to live but inside your hurting so bad. Every day we live the word SACRIFICE! The agony is unbearable.

The fact that Ty died “serving” this country makes us proud. The fact that he is gone literally breaks our hearts.

He came home under the American flag. Under it Nike!!!!! Stop for a moment and think about THAT. Under the American flag. And he was under it because he was willing to be, sacrificed it all for HIS country. So you and I can live free.

Ty was the all American kid. Played sports like none other. He was smart as a whip. Ty could have done ANYTHING. He chose to SACRIFICE and join OUR United States Marine Corp. And he did not come home!!!! He will never again walk thru the back door and yell “What’s for dinner?”.

Ty paid the ultimate SACRIFICE…..his life! Our family paid and lives that SACRIFICE every single hour.

Everyday now is a process of trying to live again. Figure out how to go camping with one of your son’s missing. Plan an exit strategy at a wedding should you lose it. Prepare your mind for the reality that in order to visit Ty we have to walk to his grave. His GRAVE Nike. Where he lays in rest……. Because of SACRIFICE!

I am angry at your choice of words with your new add campaign. Why? Because it is so offensive. I wonder if that was the idea. Shock journalism. Maybe. Whatever. But sit down and talk to any Gold Star family and you will find out that SACRIFICE isn’t about a career, football, cars or money.

It’s about that empty seat at our table, it’s about never being handed a grandchild from our son, it’s about not getting to see him come up the walk, it’s about never feeling his hug again or hearing his voice. I could go on and on Nike. Why? Because we SACRIFICED it all.

We honor that flag
We stand for our National anthem
We wear our Gold Star with pride
We miss our son Ty Hart
We miss our normal life

The tears come everytime we stand for the National Anthem.
TAPS is unbearable
And NOTHING in life is easy anymore

All because of the SACRIFICE our family paid.

You owe the American people an apology. You really do. Nike was an American icon. Everyone knows who Nike is. You branded yourself thru years of goodness. To use the word SACRIFICE in the way you just did is in poor taste. It offends so many.

Just Un”do it” Nike.
Honor what SACRIFICE truly is.
I would be happy to show you.

In honor of our fallen hero who SACRIFICED it all,

Gold Star mom,
Trina Hart

The Ty Hart Memorial Scholarship 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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