Nike has picked sides in the divisive NFL protest debate and the value of its shares stumbled in early trading Tuesday as a result.
The athletic-wear giant named former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as its latest advertising spokesperson.
Kaepernick, who started the ongoing pregame protests against racial inequality and police violence in 2016, shared the news in a tweet that sparked praise, criticism and countless social-media arguments.
As Business Insider reported, the news also resulted in trepidation among traders, though some of the initial losses had been recovered shortly after markets opened. When the opening bell rang, the corporation’s stock was trading 3.7 percent lower than at its previous close.
The theme of an anticipated campaign for the 30th anniversary of Nike’s iconic slogan is reflected in the image shared online by Kaepernick, who is also 30 years old.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt,” he wrote.
The revelation was immediately met by clashing narratives.
In comments directly to Kaepernick’s tweet and separate posts, supporters posted images of themselves in Nike apparel while detractors called for boycotts and even posted videos of themselves destroying the company’s merchandise.
Some former customers said they would shift their loyalty to a competing brand.
A handful of particularly upset Twitter users posted video footage of themselves setting fire to their own Nike sneakers.
.@Nike how you going to endorse @Kaepernick7 a person that advertises socks with cops portrayed as pigs, a person that hasn’t played NFL for 2 years, well it’s good I never really spent money on your brand but to the money I did, here they are pic.twitter.com/oHFVgDnR4K
— Sebastian Blanco (@thasaviorBlanco) September 3, 2018
One protester shared his destructive video and directed a message to Nike reading, “how you going to endorse @Kaepernick7 a person that advertises socks with cops portrayed as pigs, a person that hasn’t played NFL for 2 years, well it’s good I never really spent money on your brand but to the money I did, here they are”
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alteratyeshiva) September 4, 2018
“Due to your support of C.K. in your coming adds, I as an American can no longer support your company,” read the caption of a similar video uploaded by another Twitter user.
That tweet included the hashtags “#boycottNike” and “#IStandForOurFlag.”
Though not to this extent, Nike has previously expressed general support for the right of Kaepernick and others to protest in the way they feel is appropriate.
“Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society,” read a company statement issued last year. (For more from the author of “Nike Stock Drops as Furious Ex-Fans Burn Gear” please click HERE)