Nike stirs controversy with Colin Kaepernick sponsorship

Miranda Defoor, Web & Social Media Editor

Since Nike’s announcement of a sponsorship with famous football star Colin Kaepernick on Sept. 3, many Nike fans and supporters have turned to destroying their merchandise.

Nike is the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and clothing, making them one of the most valuable sports companies in the world, according to Forbes. Because of this, Nike’s impact is far spread.

Iconic sports stars like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Serena Williams have all touted the Nike logo in ads and during games. Nike even created a custom compression outfit for Williams to help with blood clots and other issues that occurred after her pregnancy and childbirth last year.

Nike has an ongoing relationship with their celebrity endorsers, and their newest face is Kaepernick. With this move, Nike stirred up controversy and backlash from now former fans.

Because of Kaepernick’s stance on social injustice and racism in the United States and his choice to kneel in protest during the national anthem-he became a target for criticism, and at one point was referred to negatively by the current president.

As seen on the Bakersfield College Football team’s uniforms-the team does use Nike gear, however, the athletic department declined to comment on whether this would continue.  Though one BC student, Alexis Camberos, didn’t understand the strong response due to Kaepernick’s ad; however, some view Kaepernick’s protests as disrespectful to the country, the flag, and the military. “Why are they [those boycotting] concerned?” Camberos said, “The military fights for freedom of speech, which is what he is doing.”

In an effort to boycott and denounce Nike as a brand worth supporting, people began to film as they destroyed Nike items, like shoes and socks and other apparel, they already owned. Those who destroyed the merchandise began to hashtag #BurnYourNikes, a tag that was mixed with genuine anger with Nike and mocking those who were destroying things that had long been purchased.

In the days following, the retaliation to the ad began to fade and sales online grew 31% during Labor Day weekend, according to BBC Business.

BC student, Bree Flores, said she was aware of the rise in sales following the advertisements and said “Nike doesn’t care… [those boycotting] already bought it.”