An endorsement deal between Nike and Colin Kaepernick was announced earlier this week and sports fans reacted to the apparel giant backing the exiled NFL quarterback known mainly for starting a wave of protests among NFL players of police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.
Lines were drawn in the sand as the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback quickly became a trending topic on Twitter and other social networks. Some urged a boycott of the company’s clothes and sneakers — even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear, while others pushed back, praising the company for finally taking a stand.
Nike continues to press the issue as a commercial featuring Kaepernick is planned to air during the NFL season opener.
Nike has released the first commercial for the campaign and Colin Kaepernick narrates the visual:
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
As expected, Donald Trump, a frequent critic of protesting NFL players, said Tuesday in an interview with the Daily Caller that he thinks it’s a “terrible message” for Nike to use Kaepernick in ads but that it’s their decision whether to use the quarterback.
“I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it,” Trump said, adding it’s “a message that shouldn’t be sent.”
Trump has loudly urged the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem, repeatedly diving into what has developed into one of the most contentious debates in sports.
Coincidentally, the new ad featuring Kaepernick’s narration will air for the first time tonight during the first NFL game of the season.