When former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick announced via Twitter that he’s the new spokesperson for Nike and is featured in its new ad campaign, social media dove in and—no surprise to anyone—was very opinionated. The announcement drove Nike stock prices down slightly, but they are heading back up.
First, here’s Kap‘s initial Tweet, which … yeah, in less than 24 hours, 635,000 likes.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
And one of the pushback Tweets.
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
Oh, and ... ummm, this guy. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
— iVan (@omicblizzard) September 4, 2018
Searching for the #NikeBoycott hashtag, though, support for Nike is going at about 90%:
Just purchased a bunch of socks from https://t.co/OKsfDAaGab that will go to a local homeless shelter.
Thanks to @Charla_04 for the prompt!
Encouraging all my readers and followers to do the same.
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) September 4, 2018
Here's an idea. If you think America's veterans deserve more respect, why not donate your clothes to a veterans' charity instead of cutting them up with scissors like a dumb, spiteful little brat? #NikeBoycott
— Matthew Chapman (@fawfulfan) September 4, 2018
Even Serena Williams joined in the conversation.
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) September 4, 2018
No stranger to controversies, Nike is making a bold gamble on Kaepernick's popularity. He's one of the most-loved football players around these days (and simultaneously one of the most-hated), and Nikes are purchased by a larger percentage of young African Americans than any other brand.
Of course, Kap's taking a knee during the national anthem rather than sitting on the bench has caused much consternation and hatred by some—including President #45 himself—who don't understand why it was important to him to illustrate the racial bias by cops killing African American men.
For its part, Nike is playing the long game, and if Kap wins his lawsuit against the NFL for conspiring to keep him unemployed, it will probably get even more people behind him, his image, and, for that matter, Nike.
And hey, all of you "Boycott Nike!" people, it's improved on these things a lot in the last 10 years, but where were you when the company wasn't so great at, you know, using suppliers based on child labor and worsening environmental destruction?