‘[The NFL] forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A day after Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick would be one of the faces of its new ad campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan, pro-anthem advocates responded on social media–and with their pocketbooks.
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, launched the movement of kneeling during the national anthem in the 2016 season.
After getting benched for performance reasons, he obtained a release from his contract prior to the 2017 season.
Since then, Kaepernick has been unsuccessful in securing a deal with another team, but the debate continued to spread last season as President Donald Trump spoke out against it, encouraging fans to boycott the network.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, has received recognition from many left-leaning organizations, including GQ magazine, ESPN, Amnesty International and the ACLU.
In a Twitter post on Monday that he made for the Nike campaign, he wrote, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Many who reacted to the news seemed more than willing to sacrifice their Nike apparel in support of the national anthem, with hashtags “JustBurnIt” and #BoycottNike trending on Twitter.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
Country music singer John Rich posted a photo of a pair of slashed Nike sports socks.
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
In addition to the social media campaign, The Wrap reported that shares in Nike’s stock had plunged about 4 percent by Tuesday morning, losing $3.75 billion in market value.
The BBC reported that Andrew H Scott, the mayor of Coal Run, Kentucky, said he was “officially done” with Nike and the NFL and asked Nike to cancel an order.
However, Kaepernick did receive some high-profile support from former CIA director John Brennan, who recently had his security clearance revoked by President Donald Trump.
“Colin Kaepernick drew our collective attention to the problem of continued racial injustice in America,” Brennan tweeted. “He did so not to disrespect our flag but to give meaning to the words of the preamble of our Constitution — ‘in order to form a more perfect union.’ Well done, Colin, well done.”
A national poll last week conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 54 percent of respondents said it was inappropriate to kneel during the national anthem.
The brouhaha likely will do little to help the foundering NFL as its new season begins this week. Political pressure from Trump and economic pressure from fan boycotts prompted the league to establish guidelines against the kneeling, but shortly thereafter pressure from the players’ union forced them to suspend the guidelines.
Speaking to The New York Times, NFL spokesperson Sandra Carreon-John seemed to said the NFL (which currently is embroiled in a discrimination suit with Kaepernick) had no input in his signing.
“Colin is not currently employed by an NFL team and has no contractual obligation to the NFL,” she said.
Other celebrity athletes involved with the campaign are Serena Williams, LeBron James, Shaquem Griffin, Odell Beckham Jr. and Lacey Baker.
Griffin and Beckham are both current NFL players.