Maple Donuts billboard: ‘Takes a Stand and Not a Knee’ sparks online debate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

YORK, Pa. --  Maple Donuts is known for delicious sweet treats, but the company's latest choice in advertising is sour for some customers.
"We're a very patriotic company. We fly the flag every day," said Jim Nelson, a manager for Maple Donuts.

Maple Donuts is all about the red, white, and blue: a "God Bless America" sign, dozens of American flags, and a sign honoring President Trump.

Now, a new billboard saying, "Maple Donuts takes a stand and not a knee" in response to recent NFL National Anthem protests.

"It just went right in line with our company values," explained Nelson.

On Facebook, people react to the signs, one post receiving hundreds of comments after a user said, "I wish the owner of Maple Donuts wouldn't use race as a wedge issue to sell donuts."

The owner of Porky's Place, a veteran, says the advertising is creative.

"He takes advantage of current events and incorporates it with his advertising, and he's done some really cool things, and you can`t blame him for that. That's good business, I think," said Joe Oaster. "I don't see race in that at all. We can all look at an apple and see different things."

The sign's visible on main roads throughout York County: Route 30 and Queen Street, just two places where there's a billboard.

''I didn't think about it as a race thing. I thought about it more as a football thing. It could be misinterpreted," said Sarah Sloanaker of York County.

It's not the first time maple donuts has used a social issue in an advertisement: an OJ Simpson reference here. This current billboard though? Not a means to divide, according to Nelson.

"Absolutely not. Charlie and our company is 100 percent patriotic. It's pushing the envelope a little bit, and Charlie's personality is coming out in those billboards," he said.