Store forced to close after Nike boycott over Colin Kaepernick
In his time as quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick made headlines when he began demonstrations during the national anthem. While he began by sitting down in the stands as part of his protest against police brutality, he later chose to kneel, a practice that was continued by various other players in the NFL who wanted to peacefully protest racial injustice.
He has now remained unsigned for two years, with many believing that his actions have left him blackballed by teams, but he's still managed to stay in the spotlight for both his charity work and activism.
Then, in September last year, the former quarterback was announced as one of the faces of Nike's new campaign, starring in an advertisement with the slogan: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
Given how some Americans feel about Kaepernick, this soon led to many saying they would boycott the apparel company, and some even burned their Nike gear in protest. One such protestor was Stephen Martin, the owner of the Prime Time Sports store in Colorado. At the time, he placed a sign in his window saying "All Nike 1/2 Price" and "Still Choosing to Stand, Just Doing It," prompting some media attention.
Once he sold all his Nike products in a short amount of time, he didn't stock any more in protest of their affiliation with Kaepernick. "According to me, [Kaepernick] has sacrificed a salary," he wrote on a note on the store, "nothing compared to what every soul on our 'Honor the Flag' memorial wall that was built a few years ago has suffered and died for."
In addition to this, he wrote to Nike, his letter telling them that they were "the mother of all harlots" for using the former football player in their campaign. Speaking to KRDO, he explained how he was trying to clear out all of their Nike inventory, and knew that there was a chance he could go out business because of it, seeing as many NFL jerseys are exclusive to Nike.
Now, five months later, staff have been hanging up 40% off signs across the store. After being open for over two decades, the store is closing. “I just can’t keep the doors open anymore,” Martin told News5 on Sunday night. “Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys."
“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” Martin added, but he's now about to change his mind or regret the actions that led to the closure of his store or the loss of his employees' jobs.
“I didn’t give in to big Nike and big dollars. I didn’t give in. I did it my way.
“That part of the military respect that’s in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did. I don’t like losing a business over it, but I rather be able to live with myself,” he added.
Martin estimates the store will finally close in about a month's time, and is currently working with his staffmembers to see if he can get them employment elsewhere.