It wasn’t long after an ad released yesterday that revealed ex-NFL star Colin Kaepernick as the new face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign that the backlash came — even though many celebrities, fans and influential names praised the sportswear giant’s bold move.
Critics took to social media to share videos of themselves burning Nike shoes and destroying other products, naming their protest #NikeBoycott — catapulting the hashtag to a trending topic — and #JustBurnIt, a play on the sportswear giant’s classic slogan, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the ad states.
Kaepernick made political headlines as the controversial former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who prompted a number of other NFL players to remain seated on the bench, or take a knee, during the singing of the national anthem. During the 2016 season, he led a movement to protest police brutality and discrimination against people of color. (He opted out of his contract with the team in March last year, after which he filed a collusion grievance against the league and remains a free agent.)
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In response to the ad, some critics sacrificed their own Nike gear.
On Twitter, user @alteratyeshiva shared a video of multiple pairs of Nike shoes being thrown into a furnace. “Due to your support of C.K. in your coming adds [sic], I as an American can no longer support your company.”
Another user by the name Sean Clancy, @sclancy79, said: “First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between by favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?”
“F— U NIKE THIS IS FOR SUPPORTING A MAN THAT DISRESPECTS OUR MEN IN BLUE,” wrote a user under the name “bobby boucher,” @TreatTheFeet. (However, the photo depicts athletic footwear brand New Balance’s shoes instead of those with the Swoosh logo.)
Even country singer John Rich took to the social platform to share that his sound technician, whom he said is a former marine, “cut the Nike swoosh off his socks.” He added: “Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions.”
On the other side, actress Mia Farrow, rapper Common and even fellow athlete Serena Williams, who has also signed on to the campaign, have backed Nike’s bold move.
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