Angry Nike consumers are boycotting the sportswear company for using American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the new face of a “Just Do It” campaign.
In 2016, Kaepernick began a kneeling protest during NFL pre-game playings of the United States’ national anthem as a way to object against racial injustice and police brutality in the North American country.
Yesterday, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was announced as one of the several faces for a campaign marking the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan.
The slogan that accompanies the campaign reads: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
In announcing the deal, the sportswear company said Kaepernick is “one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation”.
The player has been out of the NFL since 2016. He has sued the league for what he believes amounts to collusion amongst owners to keep him out of a team.
#JustBurnIt and #NikeBoycott hashtags
Critics to Nike’s new campaign took to social media promising to destroy products of the company.
On Tuesday morning, over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott, making it among the top trending topics at the social networking service.
Some angry consumers even posted photos and videos of themselves burning their Nike shoes and gear accompanied with the hashtag #JustBurnIt.
Country musician John Rich shared a picture of a pair of Nike Logos that had been removed from his soundman’s socks.
Other users edited Nike’s ad to show images of US army veterans with boycott captions, criticizing the company for hiring an athlete that, according to them, disrespects the memory of fallen soldiers.
As a way to counter the #JustBurnIt, Twitter user Teri Shockey wrote: 'To everyone who is planning to #JustBurnIt, might I suggest you donate your @Nike merch instead? Plenty of people in need, including vets and families of active duty military, would be more than grateful to wear it. #JustDoIt'
Support to Nike and Kaepernick
Despite boycott attempts, a huge number of other users responded positively to Nike taking a stand on social issues.
Many poked fun at the boycott, while others vowed to wear their Nike apparel more frequently or to go out to buy Nike sports gear to make up for the company’s potential losses.
Tennis super star Serena Williams was among those showing support to the sportswear company.
To everyone who is planning to #JustBurnIt, might I suggest you donate your @Nike merch instead? Plenty of people in need, including vets and families of active duty military, would be more than grateful to wear it. #JustDoIt— Teri Shockey (@1912Fenway) 4 September 2018
Nike shares fall after Kaepernick announcement
According to a report by CNBC Nike shares fell on Tuesday morning after the reveal of the campaign featuring Kaepernick.
In early trading, the company’s stock was down more than 2 percent.
However, according to information by Reuters, some analysts have said that the boycott will not have big impact on Nike, which in June reported a major sales rebound in its North America business and forecast strong growth for 2019.
So far this year, Nike’s shares have climbed about 30 percent with a market capitalization of roughly $127.9 billion.
Nevertheless, there is a risk that the company could be upsetting its relationship with the NFL, which last week lost an attempt to dismiss Kaepernick’s lawsuit.
Earlier this year, the league approved a 10-year agreement that will make Nike and Fanatics Inc. the primary suppliers of apparel to teams and fans.