NEW YORK – Nike’s shares are down 2.94 percent and leading the Dow Jones lower on Tuesday after the firm announced that it had signed former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who has become the poster child for anti-racist protests in US football, to work with its “Just Do It” ad campaign, a move that has sparked a firestorm on the social networks.
The ad, which the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback posted on his personal Twitter account has the headline “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick, who has been a free agent since 2016, when he last played in the NFL, will be one of the faces of 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” apparel ad campaign.
The former QB in 2016 led a wave of protests on the playing field by kneeling before a number of games while the National Anthem was played as a protest against US racial problems.
The National Football League fought to contain such protests on the field, which also include some players raising clenched fists and other gestures, and the television networks at times have avoided broadcasting the playing of the Anthem apparently to avoid creating a nationwide forum for such protests.
On Aug. 10, President Donald Trump demanded that US pro football players who protest during the National Anthem not be paid by their clubs.
“The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again,” Trump tweeted, “can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!”
On Tuesday, many users of the social networks expressed their unease over the firm’s move and posted photos online showing them burning or otherwise destroying their own Nike sports apparel.