Missouri college drops Nike over Kaepernick ad
Some Nike fans protested the brand’s move to feature Colin Kaepernick its latest ad campaign by burning their sports gear. One Missouri college responded by burning a metaphorical bridge.
College of the Ozarks announced that it is choosing “country over company” and is dropping Nike over the sportswear company’s use of the former NFL player to promote the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” ad campaign.
“College of the Ozarks plans to remove all athletic uniforms purchased from Nike or that contain the Nike emblem. Student athletes will no longer wear the brand in response to the company’s new ad campaign,” the private, Christian college said in a statement Wednesday.
“College of the Ozarks has stated its views regarding patriotism, the American flag, and the national anthem,” the statement said, noting that in October It “revised its contracts for competition in all sports, adding a stipulation that all participating players and coaches show respect for the American flag and national anthem.”
That same month, the Point Lookout, Missouri, school near Branson also unveiled a mandatory course called Patriotic Education and Fitness to encourage students’ understanding of America’s heritage, the nation’s civic responsibilities, love of country and willingness to defend it.
On Monday, Kaepernick tweeted a photo of his face and the phrase, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.” A video ad featuring the quarterback ran during the NFL season opener Thursday evening.
The former San Francisco 49er has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans and other racial injustices.
Dozens of other players began joining Kaepernick, and he has become a symbol of the dividing lines over race in America. Kneeling players have repeatedly been rebuked by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence among others. Trump told The Daily Caller this week that Nike’s decision to use Kaepernick sends “a terrible message.”
Shares of Nike fell nearly 3% in midday trading Tuesday, and social media posts showing consumers cutting up or burning Nike clothing popped up with a hashtag encouraging a #NikeBoycott.
But Nike also received some praise for including Kaepernick and a reference to the contentiously debated protests in the campaign, which also features star athletes such as LeBron James and Serena Williams.
The company did not immediately respond to CNN requests for comment.