Army veteran Tyler Merritt's company, Nine Line Apparel, is releasing a t-shirt that reads "Just Stand," in opposition to Nike's new "Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.
#Honoring the #right people. @Nike https://t.co/ixcg6got17— NineLineApparel (@NineLineApparel) 1536186586.0
Kaepernick is the former NFL quarterback who started a trend of protesting police violence and racial inequality in America by kneeling during the national anthem at games. Although it spread throughout the league and other players participated, Kaepernick has faced backlash from critics who maintain the protest is disrespectful to the country. Among his critics are President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick is also involved in a lawsuit that alleges the NFL is colluding to keep him out of the league because of the protests.
Why did he do it?
"They decided to take a stance. This is our stand,” Merritt, a former Army captain and CEO of Nine Line, told Fox News on Saturday.
Nike’s agreement with Kaepernick includes his own apparel line, video ads, billboards with his image, and a contribution to the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback's Know Your Rights charity, according to reports.
Nike faced backlash on social media after it released Kaepernick ads featuring the slogan: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
Merritt said Saturday that it’s difficult to compare an athlete’s sacrifice to that of a soldier’s.
"The word 'sacrifice' in the military members — it's something severe," Merritt said.
Nike’s use of Kaepernick in its ad campaign flies in the face of those who might believe the former quarterback’s stance is offensive, Merritt said.
"I agree that police brutality is bad, but you know, wearing socks that say pigs..." he said. Merritt was referring to a time when Kaepernick wore socks that depicted police officers as pigs.
"Actions speak louder than words," Merritt said. "If you want to say that you're promoting social injustice, then actually do something."
Have sales suffered?
Some critics called for boycott of Nike after the ad campaign was rolled out. Initially it was thought that it would hurt Nike sales. However, new information suggests that is not the case.
Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt https://t.co/x5TnU7Z51i— Colin Kaepernick (@Colin Kaepernick) 1536167481.0