The Mississippi Department of Public Safety — which includes the state’s police — will no longer buy Nike products, according to Commissioner Marshall Fisher.
The decision was made in reaction to Nike’s “Just Do It” ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL star who began a controversial kneeling movement during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality.
“As commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, I will not support vendors who do not support law enforcement and our military,” Fisher said.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant expressed his support for the move, saying that the commissioner has a right to choose which brands the department purchases from, and “it’s not going to be a company that pays an individual who has slandered our fine men and women in law enforcement.“
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, who plans to run for governor in 2019, also released a statement against Nike.
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“By supporting the NFL protests, Nike is making it clear that they would rather stand with those who show contempt for our country over those who defend it,” Reeves said.
The decision by the Mississippi public safety department has elicited concern from the state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, as well as from Mississippi’s Democratic lawmakers.
On Twitter, the ACLU of Mississippi wrote, “These are the people that are representing all Mississippians. These are the people that are creating policy that impact all of our lies. These are the people that took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Yet they refuse to understand what equality, justice and accountability mean.”
This is the latest in a string of pushback Nike has received from the “Just Do It” campaign.
Last week, Ben Zahn, the mayor of Kenner, La., announced that he would be banning the city recreation program from purchasing Nike goods — though he later rescinded his memo based on advice from the city’s lawyer. People have also been taking to Twitter to protest the Swoosh, with some going so far as to burn their footwear from the brand.
Meanwhile, Nike’s stock has soared in recent days, hitting an all-time high Thursday.