People in the United States are destroying their Nike clothes to protest the company's new ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback whose protests during the national anthem before games caught the ire of President Donald Trump. While Kaepernick and other athletes who have participated in the protests have been clear that their actions are about highlighting the prevalence of race-based discrimination, conservative critics, most prominently the president, have made the issue about respect for the military, the flag and the national anthem.
But Nike customers who opposed Kaepernick's on-the-field protests were outraged by the move. The giant shoe company revealed that it's kept Kaepernick under contract since he was effectively pushed out of the NFL.
The source says Nike will feature Kaepernick on several platforms, including billboards, television commercials and online ads.
"I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African-American should be completely grateful and honored how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good", she said.
Nike decided to make Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary campaign for their famous "Just Do It" slogan.
"Nike's team recognized that, even with links to the league, that they wanted to be socially conscious and authentic in the spirit of what "Just Do It" meant", the person said.
Working with Kaepernick lets the company shift its own controversy to an area where it can seem like a principled victor to many.
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The move suggests that the company is behind Kaepernick's effort to draw attention to the prevalence of racism and police brutality in America.
However, those who disapprove of Kaep's "take a knee" stance and Nike's decision to use him in their campaign are taking their disdain to extreme lengths.
The 30-year-old is suing the NFL, claiming he has been frozen out of the league by team owners because of his activism.
Kaepernick is now locked in a battle with the NFL, alleging that the league and its teams colluded to keep him out of the league.
"Obviously I'm not a Nike guy, but good on Nike", said the Toronto FC skipper, who is endorsed by Puma and is the grandson of a US marine.
Team owners reacted to widespread condemnation by banding together and ruling that all players must stand during the national anthem.