By Perry Green, AFRO Sports Editor , [email protected]
Nike shocked the world on Labor Day when it revealed Colin Kaepernick as the face of its 30-year anniversary celebration of the famous “Just Do It” slogan and campaign.
Kaepernick first revealed his endorsement deal with Nike when he posted an image on Twitter that showed a close-up photo of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, along with the caption, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike then retweeted the image.
According to the Washington Post, Kaepernick had already long been signed to Nike, since 2011, the year he was first drafted into the NFL. But Yahoo Sports senior NFL writer Charles Robinson reported that the multi-billion dollar sports apparel brand had “sat on Kaepernick for two years with no idea what to do with him” after he began kneeling during the playing on National Anthem in protest of racism and police brutality in the U.S.
Robinson said interest from other major shoe brands “absolutely changed [Nike’s] tune,” resulting in a newly negotiated deal with the Black rights activist. According to reports, Kaepernick’s new contract with Nike is a wide endorsement deal that will give him his own signature branded line, which will include shoes, jerseys, shirts, and other apparel. He will reportedly make “millions per year” from Nike, including royalties.
Nike instantly caught backlash from several right-wing supporters after news broke of Kaepernick’s endorsement deal. According to CNBC.com, Nike’s shares dropped by 3.2 percent following the announcement of the deal.
The backlash also made its way to social media as several people posted photos online of them burning their Nike shoes.
One Twitter user posted a video of him burning his Nikes and said “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?”
Popular country singer John Rich tweeted that his sound engineer cut the Nike swoop sign off his socks right before a show in protest of Nike.
“Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions,” Rich tweeted.
But many of Kaepernick supporters responded to Rich’s tweet, reminding him that it was Nate Boyer, a former Army Green Beret soldier, that first gave Kaepernick the idea to kneel during the anthem, instead of sitting down, as a sign of respect for all vets.
“You do know that Kaepernick spoke with an Army veteran who suggested he kneel instead of sitting,” @CampDukes tweeted to Rich. “And you are aware that protesting is the foundation which this country was founded upon.. I assume you celebrate the 4th of July.”
Nike is currently the official brand for the NFL, so many were wondering how the league would react to Nike’s announcement, considering that Kaepernick still has an active collusion suit against the league. The NFL didn’t directly mention Kaepernick’s new Nike deal, but did release a statement to the media Tuesday, referencing the former quarterback.
“The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action,” the statement read. “We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities.”