‘Hypocritical Much?’ Critics Blast NFL’s PSA Highlighting ‘Human Cost of Police Brutality’ in Memory of Botham Jean

A public service announcement honoring the life of Botham Jean and showing the “human cost of police brutality” will be shown during the Super Bowl this year, an attorney for Jean’s family announced.

The PSA, produced in partnership with Jay-Zs Roc Nation and the NFL, went live Wednesday and shows the impact of Botham’s death from his family’s perspective.

Botham Jean
Botham Jean, 26, was killed in his apartment by a Dallas police officer in 2018. (Photo: WFAA/ video screenshot)

“It’s important for them, for people to understand that although he was killed, his legacy lives on,” attorney Lee Merritt told The Dallas Morning News. “He continues to influence the world. The impact that he made on people in his 26 years continues to have ripple effects today.”

Jean was fatally shot in his own apartment by a Dallas police officer in 2018, after she claims she mistook him for an intruder. The former officer, Amber Guyger, was convicted in his murder and is now serving a 10-year sentence.

The two-minute PSA opens with a photo of Jean smiling alongside his mom, Allison Jean. One by one, his family members speak about his impact on their lives, always referring to their loved one in the present tense as a way to reflect his lasting legacy, according to Merritt.

“He is the kindest, sweetest person you could ever know,” his sister, Allisa Findley, says in the video.

Allison Jean remembered her son as an active child and “a light in any dark room.”

“To know Botham, was to love Botham,” she added. “The world lost a great man. He was destined for greatness.”

Merritt said, at first, the family was hesitant to work with the NFL due to the controversy surrounding ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was blackballed from the league when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police violence and racism in the United States.

The Jeans eventually came around after seeing how well the PSA honoring Botham turned out, the attorney said.

“Since then, the NFL has worked to see what they could do to try to right their wrongs,” Merritt told the newspaper. “This is not the compromise I was hoping for. I was hoping that the players would be released to resume their on-the-field protest. But this is a step in the right direction.”

Not everyone was as forgiving, however, and slammed the NFL’s ad as pure hypocrisy.

“This is the reason why @Kaepernick7 began a silent protest,” one Twitter user wrote, “and now y’all have the audacity to air this commercial, yet blackball the man who brought awareness to the issue from the league. #ShameOnYou”

Another critic blasted the PSA as a “false and ineffective narrative that portrays victims of police violence as being responsible for changing bias views of bigoted and racist offenders.”

“Hypocritical much?” someone else wrote. 

In the clip, Allison Jean said what happened to her son “should not happen to another family.”

“What I hope to see happening is that our black boys are not seen as a threat,” she added.

According to Merritt, the NFL has reportedly also reached out to the families of Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman shot dead by Fort Worth, Texas, police in her home last year, and O’Shae Terry, a black man killed by an Arlington, Texas, officer days before Jean, to produce similar announcements.

Watch more in the video below.

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