- A new Nike ad campaign features Colin Kaepernick, the football player who first took a knee during the US national anthem before NFL games to protest racial injustice.
- In response, people opposed to Kaepernick’s protests quickly began posting videos in which Nike products were destroyed.
In the United States, people destroy their Nike clothes to protest the company’s new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback whose protests during the national anthem before games sparked anger of President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick caused a stir when he sat on the bench while the Anthem played before an NFL game in August 2016. When asked why he wasn’t standing, he said he sat protesting the police killings of unarmed black men. He continued to kneel constantly during the anthem, and while he was unsigned last season, a handful of other players continued training.
The new Nike campaign, released Monday night, featured an image of Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
The practice of kneeling during the anthem, however, proved divisive last year, with Trump calling it disrespectful to the US flag and military. And on Monday, videos quickly emerged showing people burning Nike shoes, cutting Nike’s swoosh logo onto socks and, in some cases, swearing never to buy Nike products again.
Many of the posts included the hashtag #JustBurnIt, a play on Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan.
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alterAtYeshiva) September 4, 2018
Firstly the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose the country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American flag and national anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
Country musician John Rich tweeted that his sound technician, who he described as a Navy veteran, cut Nike’s signature swoosh from his socks in protest.
—John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
Twitter user ArtenenAeolus shared a since-deleted video of a man burning Nike products.
A Twitter user named Kolten Conrad seemed to decide to throw his Nike kit in the trash instead:
The video below appeared on Facebook, with a man saying “I just did it”.
Another person posted a video of a burning Nike shoe on Facebook. “Never again will I wear another Nike shoe,” a man’s voice can be heard saying.
It’s unclear what impact the protests will have on Nike, which made $34.5 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year.
“Nike ran the numbers. They’ll be fine,” actor Zach Braff tweeted.
He added sarcastically, “But please burn your socks.”
Bloomberg analyst Chen Grazutis also said on Tuesday, “The long-term relationship and a contract that benefits both parties over the next 10 years will likely trump any current controversy.”
Kaepernick’s protests earned him support as well as criticism around the world.
Dozens of football and basketball athletes, along with cheerleaders and band members, knelt or sat down in protest as the national anthem was played.
Trump has criticized athletes who have followed Kaepernick’s example.
He suggested last September that NFL owners should stop those who kneel during the national anthem from playing games. “Wouldn’t you like to see one of those NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of ab—- off the field now’?” he said at a rally.
He also has tweeted“The question of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It’s a matter of respect for our country, our flag and our national anthem. The NFL must respect this!
Trump wants NFL owners to tell anthem protesters ‘get that son of a bitch off the field now’ pic.twitter.com/gq4EH3lNoY
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 23, 2017