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Nike customers protest company for naming Kaepernick face of ‘Just Do It’ campaign, destroy gear

In response to the company’s announcement, many fans are destroying their Nike-branded gear in protest of the 30th anniversary pick — former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick — for the campaign. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

Apparently not all Nike fans are pleased that the sports apparel company decided to use former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of their latest “Just Do It” campaign.

In response to the company’s announcement, many fans are destroying their Nike-branded gear in protest of the 30th anniversary pick for the campaign.

What’s the background?

On Monday, Kaepernick posted a Nike ad on Twitter featuring his visage with the message, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Nike, which is the NFL’s official apparel partner, has had Kaepernick on its endorsement roster since 2011 — years before Kaepernick became the face of the kneeling protest movement. Kaepernick has not played in the league since 2016.

In a statement to ESPN, Gino Fisanotti — Nike’s brand vice president for North America — said, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward.”

So what’s happening now?

Fans are rallying against Nike, with some people burning, tearing, and destroying their Nike-branded apparel and accessories. The movement picked up traction on social media, where users shared videos of themselves engaging in such behaviors.

One such person was John Rich, of country band Big & Rich, who said that the band’s soundman — a former Marine — had played his part in the protest and had cut the Nike’s trademark “swoosh” sign off his socks.

On Twitter, Rich wrote, “Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions.”

Organization Vote Vets also weighed in on the protests and had an even better idea. On Twitter, the organization wrote, “PSA: Even if you don't like @Nike making @Kaepernick7 the face of their new campaign, if you own Nike gear, you already paid for it. So instead of burning it, or cutting it, please donate it. Lots of houseless people could use it, sadly including many veterans on the streets.”

Anything else?

Nike shares fell about 4 percent at one point Tuesday and closed down 3.2 percent, according to Reuters.

Despite that,  Erich Joachimsthaler — the CEO of strategy consulting firm Vivaldi — said the boycott was only helping the Nike brand at large.

“This is right on the money for Nike,” Joachimsthaler said. “They stand for this irreverent, rebellious attitude. In this case, it’s reinforcing the brand.”

Matt Powell, a senior adviser with NPD Group, a market research firm, said that the boycott just wouldn’t gain any momentum.

“Old, angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike,” he said, according to the outlet.

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