When Nike made former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of their Just Do It Campaign 30th anniversary, they knew there would be people who didn’t like it. Although Kaepernick is no longer in the NFL and has litigation against the league for colluding to blackball him, Nike kept him on the payroll and found the perfect time to call him back to active spokesman duty. Naming Kaepernick as the face of the campaign has sparked outrage among the Make America Great Again (MAGA) loving supporters of Donald Trump.
Kaepernick was a top NFL quarterback in the NFL, but he began kneeling during the pregame playing of the national anthem to protest police brutality. He used to sit during the playing, which no one seemed to care about very much, but when U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer convinced him to kneel, as soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother or sister’s grave to show respect, it all changed. As verified at Snopes, it was a middle ground Kaepernick reached after discussing how to respectfully protest with Boyer, a Green Beret veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Which leads to the current time where MAGA supporters are burning and otherwise destroying Nike gear as some form of anti-Nike, pro-Trump, love America, “#justburnit” protest. Which may make little sense as they are literally burning their own clothing, shoes, hats, and athletic gear they paid to own, per Metro. One after the other, MAGA lovers are posting videos destroying anything that has a Nike swoosh. And for that, they are being mercilessly trolled, as reported at TooFab.
“The irony of the MAGA crowd using their First Amendment right to protest Nike over their support of an athlete who utilized his first amendment right to protest racial injustice in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem was not lost on many of those in Hollywood and beyond.”
Serena Williams was one of the first to show her support, tweeting out a message that she was proud to be associated with Nike after the Kaepernick ad went live.
Bit by bit, support for Kaepernick and Nike began flooding in as people returned from their Labor Day activities to see what was happening, as reported by UpRoxx. John Rich, of a country music duo Big ‘n Rich, which had a hit song in 2004 before going on “hiatus” in 2011, has been on the receiving end of a significant amount of the backlash as he is a major Trump supporter, MAGA man, and is taking credit for starting the anti-Nike campaigns. A great deal of the responses cannot be shared here; however, many use colorful language to point out his many alleged failings in business, entertainment, and as a decent person.
As soon as I saw the article about Kaepernick and Nike, I was waiting for posts like this from thin-skinned Trump sheep. Flames, anger, ignorance. Classic behaviour from people who don’t understand the basic principles of protest. pic.twitter.com/lBUbGn3huS— Ralph Bristols (@TruthLovingBrit) September 4, 2018
Suddenly all at once, it was as if the entirety of Hollywood descended on Twitter with Kathy Griffin, Patton Oswald, Zach Braff, Nait Jones, Ava Duvarney, Michael Rappaport, and at least two dozen more celebrities who piled in blasting MAGA supporters, and John Rich directly in some cases. Some chose to call out Trump directly, and others went after MAGA supporters, trying to point out that they were “doing it wrong,” and their protests don’t hurt Nike at all, but they might hurt people that could actually use the clothing and shoes they are burning to show support for the troops, such as homeless veterans, as suggested by Buzzfeed and others.
To all the @Kaepernick7 haters...Instead of throwing away, burning, or defaming your @Nike gear, why not give to the homeless veterans you say you care about ???? > they make up 12 percent of the adult homeless population in America...— Daniel Blackman (@BlackmanDNA) September 4, 2018
As has been pointed out many times, Nike is a tremendously huge multi-national business that certainly knows that any loosely organized boycott of their products on Twitter, or social media as a whole, is not going to hurt their bottom line. If anything, they may end up making more money than before. Watching the back and forth on Twitter, the sad thing is, there are people that likely don’t understand why they are really protesting Nike, who are essentially throwing away their money by burning their clothing, per The Daily Mail. Sadder still is they probably don’t want anyone to question them on it or explain it to them, and that may ultimately be why Nike named Kaepernick for the campaign in the first place – to start a conversation America needs to have.
Nike ran the numbers. They’ll be ok. But please, burn your socks.— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) September 4, 2018