Outrage over Nike’s decision to make Colin Kaepernick the face of its new ad campaign has prompted some to protest by destroying their Nike products.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, who was the first NFL player to popularize social justice protests during the national anthem, tweeted an image on Sunday from Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign of his face accompanied by the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
A couple hours after the announcement, country musician John Rich posted a photo on Twitter explaining that his band’s sound man, a former Marine, had cut the Nike logo off of his socks.
“Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions,” Rich tweeted.
Dozens of videos and photos went viral in the hours that followed of social media users burning their Nike products, tearing them up or placing them in the trash in protest of the company’s decision to tap Kaepernick for its ad campaign.
Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the protests from some customers.
Numerous social media users mocked those who destroyed their own property, or posted videos and photos supporting Nike’s decision.Kaepernick became the first player to sit and later take a knee during the national anthem during the 2016 NFL season as part of an effort to protest social injustice. He became a free agent at the end of the season, and has remained unsigned. He has a pending collusion grievance against league owners that alleges teams conspired not to sign him.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN on Sunday.
While Kaepernick has been out of the league, dozens of other NFL players have taken a knee, raised a fist or remained off the field during the national anthem to protest social injustice.
President Trump has lashed out at protesting players, declaring they should be fired and suggesting they don’t belong in the country.