Will Nike shares rebound after falling 3 percent Tuesday?
Early indications show the stock could stabilize today as investors move past the controversial move to select former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the new face of the athletic wear company’s “Just Do It” campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt,” Kaepernick, who has been with Nike since 2011, posted on Twitter on Monday afternoon. The athlete is currently a free agent and has not played on an NFL team since the 2016 season.
Nike’s decision led to calls for a boycott of the company, with more than 42,000 people tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning. Some users showed their disapproval by posting images and videos of themselves lighting their Nike products on fire.
Law enforcement agencies are also among those not pleased with Nike’s decision. The National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) fired off a letter to the company’s Chairman and CEO Mark Parker, calling for a boycott of the brand.
“Regarding police in particular, Colin Kaepernick has deliberately perpetuated this myth of police officers as brutal as racist as thugs and he seems to get a kick out of doing childish stunts like wearing socks with cartoon pigs on them as police officers but at the same time doesn’t do anything anywhere to improve anyone’s condition in society or in the work place"
“One, it’s the right thing to do,” Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, told FOX Business. “Regarding police in particular, Colin Kaepernick has deliberately perpetuated this myth of police officers as brutal, as racist, as thugs, and he seems to get a kick out of doing childish stunts like wearing socks with cartoon pigs on them as police officers, but at the same time doesn’t do anything anywhere to improve anyone’s condition in society or in the work place. If Nike wanted to do a real ad about a player who sacrificed everything because they believed in something, they could have used Pat Tillman.”
Kaepernick, the now-free agent quarterback, who led the Niners to Super Bowl XLVII where they fell to the Baltimore Ravens, stirred up controversy when he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem prior to NFL games, beginning in the summer of 2016, to protest racial injustices against the African-American community.
Many other players have joined the movement since it began, which eventually led to NFL owners voting to enact a national anthem policy for the 2018 season. Under the new guidelines announced in May, players and others associated with the NFL who are on the sideline must stand during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, while those who choose not to stand must remain in the locker room.
The policy has been on hold since July under an agreement with the NFL Players Association, and while the league and players union have tried to come to a deal that pleases both sides, it doesn’t appear likely that the two parties will have an agreement before the start of the 2018 season on Thursday.
The movement also caught the attention of President Trump, who lambasted Kaepernick and other players who participated in the pregame protests. Last September, the president called on NFL owners to fire any player who kneeled during the national anthem.
Television ratings declined nearly 10% across all networks during the 2016-2017 regular season, according to data from Nielsen, though that cannot be blamed solely on the anthem controversy. An average NFL game was watched by 1.6 million fewer people in 2017 versus the prior year— an overall decline from 16.5 million to 14.9 million, according to ESPN. Ratings saw a similar decline last season, falling 8%, the sports network reported. Still, 20 of the 30 top-rated shows on television last year were NFL games, according to Nielsen data.
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Shares of Foot Locker took a hit as well, falling nearly 2 percent. Nike products account for about two-thirds of the retailer's revenue.
This story has been updated to reflect the share price of Nike and the statement from NAPO.
FOX Business Network's Adam Shapiro contributed to this report.