Private Christian college drops Nike after controversial Colin Kaepernick commercial
Ever since Colin Kaepernick first 'took a knee' during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and institutional racism, people have been talking about it. It did seem that, for a while, the debate had receded into the background somewhat, but now it as reared its head once more - now that Kaepernick is the face of a new Nike campaign.
Seeing as the peaceful protest saw Kaepernick, and later other NFL players, not standing or singing during The Star Spangled Banner, many took it as an affront to the United States' flag and what it stands for. However, there are some that think differently, such as Beto O'Rourke, who is running against Ted Cruz for the senate.
At one of his campaign stops recently, a member of the audience asked him whether he believed taking a knee during the national anthem was disrespectful. His answer was no, with his belief being that this sort of protest was a patriotic act in itself.
"Non-violently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix it," he said.
Gino Fisanotti, vice president of Nike's North American brand, is another supporter of Kaepernick. Speaking to ESPN recently, he described Kaepernick as "one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation," and said that the quarterback "has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward".
As you can expect, Kaepernick's critics weren't too happy about the announcement that he would be the face of one of the biggest sports brands in the world. In fact, some were so enraged by the decision that they decided to boycott the company, and displayed their distaste for them by destroying any Nike gear they owned.
Many others mocked this boycott, pointing out that destroying things you have already bought won't have a particularly strong effect on Nike.
Now, it seems that a more organised boycott is taking place, at a private Christian college in Missouri. On Wednesday, College of the Ozarks announced that its athletic teams will no longer wear any apparel made by Nike.
In a statement, college president Jerry C. Davis said that Nike's choice was "promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America."
"If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them," Davis continued. "We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform."
This isn't the first time that the college has made a statement about this matter. Last year, the college added a stipulation to competition contracts, writing that their team could walk away from any game where any member of the opposing team took a knee, sat, or turned their back to the flag during the national anthem.
However, it remains to be seen whether even widespread boycotts will affect the deal. Along with the two-minute commercial narrated and featuring Kaepernick released earlier this week, they have signed a multi-year agreement with the NFL star, including his own apparel line, video and billboard advertisements, and a contribution to his charity, Know Your Rights.
The aforementioned commercial is expected to air during college football and Major League Baseball games over the weekend, in addition to the NFL season opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.