Alabama pastor cuts up Nikes during sermon in Kaepernick protest

Florence Fletcher
September 14, 2018

Nike knew the risks involved of pinning its latest ad campaign on Colin Kaepernick, one of the most polarizing figures in American culture.

"Controversial endorsements tend to generate a lot of hype", said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for retail at The NPD Group, a market research firm.

A tiny university in Georgia is making big claims.

College of the Ozarks in Missouri also dropped Nike last week, saying it was choosing "country over company."

Last week, Nike unveiled the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers as the face of the company's ad celebrating the the 30th anniversary of its "Just do it" campaign.

New polling data released Tuesday shows that the move came with expected backlash while demonstrating the upside of targeting a younger, progressive demographic. Thirty percent said they did not.

But if Trump is no stranger to controversy, neither is Nike.

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After opting out of his 49ers contract to become a free agent a year ago, Kaepernick continues to be unemployed for doing nothing more than taking a knee during the national anthem. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, and other cultural flashpoints.

Springfield News-Leader reported the school's volleyball team wore plain, gray T-shirts instead of their usual Nike-branded uniforms.

A separate SSRS Omnibus poll provided to CNN found a similar age divide: Among Americans ages 18 to 34, 44 percent approved of Nike's decision while 32 percent opposed.

Lyon pointed out that the recent campaign, wherein Nike differentiated itself against rivals and took a risk by standing "in support of a social issue", will likely do more good than harm and will strengthen ties with Nike's sponsor athletes.

Independent voters are divided, by 46-47 percent.

Out of those that said they would stop wearing Nike, five percent said "they tore the Nike swooshes off their clothing", seven percent said they got rid of their Nike products and 12% told their friends to do the same, reports ESPN.

"The company understands societal trends and its customer demographics better than most", Edison Trends' Pandya said.

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