Coronavirus

‘Don’t Be a Knucklehead’ Campaign to Benefit NJ Pandemic Relief Fund

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What to Know

  • Weeks ago, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy first uttered the words that have since become commonplace for some when referring to residents who do not follow social distancing or other safety orders: "Don’t be a knucklehead." 
  • The phrase immediately took off -- even appearing on electronic traffic signs in the state.
  • With this in mind, the New Jersey State Democratic Committee is launching a campaign asking residents to choose their favorite “Don’t be a knucklehead” t-shirt design -- all in an effort that will benefit the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund

Weeks ago, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy first uttered the words that have since become commonplace for some when referring to residents who do not follow social distancing or other safety orders: "Don’t be a knucklehead." 

The phrase immediately took off -- even appearing on electronic traffic signs in the state.

With this in mind, the New Jersey State Democratic Committee is launching a campaign asking residents to choose their favorite “Don’t be a knucklehead” t-shirt design -- all for a good cause.

Participating residents get to pick from four choices, each inspired by the Garden State.

Once a winner is selected, the party will sell the shirts online and all net proceeds -- after covering the cost of producing and shipping the shirts -- will be donated to the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded by First Lady Tammy Murphy to help residents in need during the pandemic. NJPRF provides grants to existing organizations with a demonstrated track record of caring for vulnerable communities and that provide essential services to those in need and to assist those on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Making sure as many New Jerseyans as possible receive life-saving information about social distancing guidance is a crucial aspect of stopping the spread of COVID-19, and the Governor and his team’s use of creative, impactful messaging on both traditional and social media has been a big part of that success,” NJDSC Chairman John Currie said in a statement.

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“‘Don’t be a knucklehead’ seems to be on the tip of a lot of residents’ tongues right now, and we think this campaign will help spread that message even further while also raising money for an outstanding cause," Currie's statement went on to say.

Voting is currently open. A winner will be announced June 1.

However, not everyone was amused by Murphy's use of the term "knuckleheads." Republican Joe Pennacchio condemned Murphy’s use of the word.

“I strongly condemn the flippant language the Governor has used in press conferences and on these signs," Pennacchio said in a statement. "It is disrespectful to the citizens of New Jersey who have – and will continue to — make hard sacrifices to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.

“The sophomoric language is unbecoming of the Governor, and certainly not fair to the people of New Jersey. Webster defines a knucklehead as a ‘stupid person.’ Is that what you think of sacrificing New Jersey citizens? Really?”

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