On Monday, Nike announced Colin Kaepernick as one of its athletes alongside Serena Williams and Odell Beckham Jr. to help commemorate Nike’s thirtieth anniversary of the brand’s slogan: Just Do It.
Kaepernick is famously known for his kneeling protest during the national anthem at NFL games.
Nike’s advertisement contains a close-up of Kaepernick’s face with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The quote refers to Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL for allegedly conspiring to keep Kaepernick out of the league over his protest against police brutality.
Many NFL players in support of Kaepernick have maintained that kneeling during the anthem alludes to police brutality towards unarmed African Americans.
People against Kaepernick have argued that his protest is disrespectful towards the flag, the country and what it means to play professional league sports.
With Kaepernick as the face of Nike, opposers were quick to logon to twitter to share their disappointment with Nike’s choice.
User @sclancy79 tweeted, “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?”
Responders were quick to ask if people opposing Kaepernick realized that the protest was about the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality and that Kaepernick’s message had nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.
Quickly, the movement to burn Nike gear caught wind and soon all Kaepernick opposers were burning their Nike gear. However, this is not hurting Nike’s company.
Burning apparel already bought from a multibillion dollar company does nothing but promote the advertisement and give Nike more of a voice.
While boycotting Nike, one would also have to boycott college leagues sponsored by Nike such as Ohio State or Baylor. The same goes for other brands owned by Nike like Converse or Hurley.
This is not just about the Nike brand. Setting shoes on fire and cutting up clothing allows people to voice displeasure towards the company. This social media boycott brings in branding opportunities for Nike and this is what Nike was paying for by placing Kaepernick as its spokesman.
Kaepernick’s advertisement reward outweighs the cost by the thousands of already-purchased shoe burnings, social media discussion of support of disgust and making Kaepernick part of national conversation. The reward will outweigh any potential stock downfall Nike has received by media attention alone.
One person burning shoes potentially inspires another to go buy Nike gear. Again, for burned gear already purchased, this does not affect Nike, but the media attention drawn from it, inspiring someone who supports Kaepernick to buy Nike only contributes to Nike’s worth.
Reportedly, Kaepernick’s advertisement with the company also includes a contribution to Kaepernick’s charity, Know Your Rights. Vox.com said the contribution “counts for something, even if it loses Nike some fans along the way.”
Let’s reiterate – no matter what social justice people feel is being spread by burning pre-purchased Nike gear, it continues to show the old saying that there is no such thing as bad publicity. Whether for or against Kaepernick and Nike, they are making money either way.