Seal Beach Principal Apologizes for Calling Colin Kaepernick an ‘Anti-American Thug’

A California school official faced massive backlash after uploading an offensive Facebook post on Tuesday about former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

Nike’s new “Just Do It” campaign that featured the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and social justice advocate fueled a boatload of emotions in Americans, and J.H. McGaugh Elementary School Principal Roni Burns-Ellis just happened to be one of those people.

The principal took to her personal Facebook page to express her frustration over Nike’s decision to endorse Kaepernick and posted a picture of a sliced up Nike shirt. She wrote, “My newest rag! … When Nike signs an anti-American thug to represent their brand, I will not support, wear, purchase, or endorse their product. Bye-bye Nike.”

Roni Burns-Ellis

(photo credit: KTLA screenshot)

A screenshot was taken of Burns-Ellis’ derogatory post, and parents of children at the Seal Beach, Calif., school later reported the incident to Los Alamitos Unified School District.

The elementary principal later deleted the Facebook post from her social media and issued an apology to parents on Thursday at a PTA meeting, according to KABC. She regretted using the word “thug” and said she didn’t mean to offend anyone.

However, upset parents and community officials came together on September 4 to start a petition against Burns-Ellis’ comments. The petition is titled “Los Alamitos Unified School Leaders – Please lead by example!” and has received over 500 signatures so far.

The petition reads in part, “We may disagree but we hope our Los Alamitos School leaders will always act civilly, treat each other with respect, and not engage in name calling. Our children view the teachers and principals as a beacon of moral character. We hope our school leaders will act responsibly and will walk with kindness as they lead our children with their actions.”

One parent accused Burns-Ellis of having “racist views on Blacks” and said the Seal Beach principal is “unfit to lead.”

Sherry Kropp, Los Alamitos Unified superintendent, stated to Yahoo Lifestyle, “One person’s opinion on a personal Facebook page does not represent the values of our District, nor is it representative of our District’s mission and vision. However, I understand that what someone writes publicly does reflect on us and can damage the good work we are doing. We care deeply about all students and want them to thrive in a diverse society. We will learn from this and move forward stronger and better.”

Back to top