Nike hits all-time high after Kaepernick ad backlash

Nike shares touched on all-time high this week, days after the sports apparel giant announced its polarizing decision to feature free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a major marketing campaign.

The company’s stock rose as high as $83.90, surpassing its previous record, before closing at $83.47 on Thursday. Nike shares were mostly flat in early trading Friday.

Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL season to protest police brutality and social injustice. The 30-year-old quarterback, who has not played since the end of that season, is currently suing the NFL’s 32 owners, alleging they conspired to keep him off the field.

Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick in the campaign, which commemorates the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan, drew a mixed reaction on social media. While some praised the brand for taking a stance in the protest debate, critics argue that kneeling during the anthem is disrespectful to the American flag and military veterans.

President Donald Trump publicly criticized Nike for its partnership with Kaepernick, tweeting that the company was “getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.” Nike’s stock fell more than 3 percent to less than $80 per share in the hours after the announcement, though it recovered those initial losses by the end of last week.

A report by data firm Edison Trends said Nike’s e-commerce sales grew 31 percent in the two days after the Kaepernick campaign was announced, up from 17 percent growth over the same two days last year.