Nike shares stabilize after Kaepernick controversy, Trump slam
Nike’s Colin Kaepernick controversy may be short lived.
Nike shares rebounded on Wednesday, shaking off calls for a boycott, after it named former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign and after a morning tweet slam from President Trump.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” Trump wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.
The athletic wear company’s stock lost more than 3 percent on Tuesday, or about $3.7 billion in market cap, the day after the athletic apparel giant unveiled the controversial athlete to represent the famed slogan, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
The team at Buckingham Research believes Nike’s move will ultimately pay off as the company targets “younger millennial and urban demographics,” as cited by Reuters.
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.
Kaepernick, the now-free agent quarterback, 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. He is currently suing the NFL’s 32 owners for collusion, alleging that they have kept him out of the league because of the protests. Kaepernick hasn’t played on an NFL team since he opted out of his contract with the Niners at the end of the 2016 season.
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.
“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."
In addition to being one of Kaepernick’s corporate sponsors, Nike signed a deal in March that extended its partnership with the NFL through 2028. Under terms of the agreement, which takes effect after the current contract expires in 2020, the company will provide all teams with uniforms and sideline apparel.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” said Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
FOX Business' Tom Barrabi and Adam Shapiro contributed to this report.