— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Nike has included Colin Kaepernick among celebrities being paid to appear in their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign and those enraged by his protest of injustice are reacting as you might expect, hotly. The web is full of people burning Nike shoes and apparel.
The most popular protest is that of the patriotic scoundrel. That is, a peaceful protest during the National Anthem is an offense to those who served and sacrificed in the military. That is not the intent and Kaepernick has made that clear. The country and its flag and anthem stand for many things. If it were only about military service, what meaning would be left for the First Amendment? But I repeat myself.
Nike undoubtedly knew it would face a backlash. New York magazine observed:
Without looking at Nike’s sales figures, it’s probably safe to assume the brand is more popular with the type of American who backs the protests, and less popular with the sort of NFL fan who was moved by Vice President Mike Pence staging an expensive walkout over the demonstrations last season (for what it’s worth, Pence was wearing a suit during the stunt, and Second Lady Karen Pence was wearing a jersey made by Reebok).
ESPN journalist Jemele Hill pointed out that the move fits with the history of Nike’s brand.
I’m just here to remind folks that last year Colin Kaepernick was in the top 50 in NFL jersey sales, despite not being on a roster. Nike made a business move.
Nike became Nike because it was built on the idea of rebellion. This is the same company that dealt w/ the NBA banning Air Jordans. They made Jordan the face of the company at a time when black men were considered to be a huge risk as pitch men. They aren’t new to this.
Below is just one of many burn-my-Nikes responses. I like those who say that if you must rid yourself of Nike goods, why not donate them to a shelter for homeless veterans.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 4, 2018