Just hours after Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who was the first player to kneel during the National Anthem, was announced as the face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, angry customers began protesting the decision. The backlash led the #BoycottNike hashtag to go viral, and users started uploading images of them burning and otherwise destroying Nike-branded items.
The videos and images appearing on social media are in response to Kaepernick’s appearance in Nike’s classic “Just Do It” campaign.
In the ad, Kaepernick’s face appears along with a message: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Some videos show angry customers burning their Nike sneakers and clothing.
A Twitter user, posting under the name Sean Clancy, posted a video of a pair of shoes on fire, along with the caption, “First @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country.”
“Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?” he added.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
Posts drawing a comparison between Kaepernick and Pat Tillman, who gave up an NFL contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army after September 11 and was killed while serving in Afghanistan, also made appearances on social media.
Nike’s new ad is part of the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign.
“Colin has been a Nike athlete since 2011,” said Nike spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John on Monday. “Colin is one of a number of athletes being featured as part of our 30th anniversary of Just Do It.”
— Chance McClain™ (@TexasChance) September 3, 2018
The backlash over Nike’s decision also extended beyond social media. The value of Nike shares fell by roughly 3.2 percent after Kaepernick’s ad was revealed, according to a report by CNBC.
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alteratyeshiva) September 4, 2018
Other athletes are also featured in the larger anniversary campaign, including Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants, Shaquem Griffin, a Seattle Seahawk and amputee, and skateboarder Lacey Baker.