Store That Pulled Nike Gear After Kaepernick Commercial Will Close

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When Nike launched an advertising campaign last fall featuring exiled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, some opposed to the quarterback’s protests during the national anthem vowed to stop buying Nike products. A small group of them even burned or otherwise destroyed their Nike apparel while filming it.

One sporting goods store in Colorado last fall reacted to the commercial by removing all Nike products from its shelves. Now, that store is going out of business.

Prime Time Sports, a sporting goods store in Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs, is going out of business, TV station KOAA reported.

The stated reason for the closure is that the store can no longer afford its lease for the space. And the owner told the station that the lack of Nike apparel, football jerseys specifically, were what did the store in, as Nike is the only officially licensed manufacturer of official NFL jerseys.

“Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys,” owner Stephen Martin told the station. Martin, who had canceled an autograph appearance by the Broncos’ Brandon Marshall after Marshall participated in anthem protests two years ago, added that “as much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized.”

So Broncos fans looking to pick up a jersey for quarterback Joe Flacco, who the Broncos announced plans to trade for Monday, will have to find somewhere else to get it.

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The store has already slashed prices for a clearance sale and will stay open until it’s out of merchandise.

Kaepernick, who has not played in the NFL since 2016, debuted in a commercial for Nike last September, the night of the opening NFL game, with the slogan “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

While Nike’s stock dipped 2 percent the day after the campaign was announced, leading to hand-wringing from Kaepernick opponents, the stock later rebounded to an all-time high, CBS reported at the time. Sales of Nike merchandise surged 31 percent in the quarter after the campaign was announced, per NBC News. And while lots of reports at the time stated that many customers destroyed their Nike merchandise in response, there was never any evidence that this was done by more than a small handful of people.