Although Nike’s move of making Colin Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign is controversial, the former NFL player had several offers lined up if Nike had decided to drop him.
According to a Yahoo Sports report by Charles Robinson, Kaepernick had offers from brands like Adidas and Puma among others if Nike failed to re-sign Kaepernick with their previous deal, which will be worth millions for the former quarterback.
One shoe industry executive said, “We talked about Colin in March. A lot, actually. We all know the specific kind of deals NFL players are on with each other. His deal was running out and he had a shoe commitment that hadn’t been done for whatever reason. I’m sure it was because of everything that was going on around him. But it looked like Nike was running out the clock on [his deal] because he didn’t have a lot of time left and nothing was really happening with him. So there were some discussions for us about what kind of an endorser he could be. It’s apparent that, you know, even though he isn’t playing, he’s still connecting with a lot of people. I also think he’s exponentially more popular, and in some cases unpopular, than he ever was in the NFL.”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) September 4, 2018
People are calling this move among Nike’s most controversial ever. They run the risk of President Donald Trump calling for a boycott, and several others have already expressed their decision to boycott. Inquisitr reported that Big And Rich country singer, John Rich, called for a boycott of Nike in the wake of its controversial new campaign featuring Kaepernick who chose to take a knee during the “Star Spangled Banner” before NFL games to highlight the plight of black people, police brutality, and police shootings.
After Nike unveiled its campaign featuring Kaepernick on Labor Day, both Nike and Colin Kaepernick trended on Twitter. NBA star LeBron James provided praise for the move on Instagram while former CIA director John Brennan took to Twitter to express his happiness with the sports giants’ new campaign. Overall, the step created quite the buzz on social media with Nike receiving more than 1 million unique tweets, and Kaepernick receiving 176,000 retweets and nearly half a million “likes” on his first tweet in the first eight hours after the news broke.
The traditional thinking is that publicity of any kind is a good thing for a brand, and it looks like Nike garnered a lot from its bold move with Kaepernick. The choice inspired both love and hate with some people deciding to cut out their Nike swoosh logos and others burning their shoes while certain groups of people went out and bought even more Nikes in the name of those calling for boycotts of the brand.