Nike knew it was courting controversy by making the polarizing, anthem-protesting Colin Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign, and indeed the pushback has been fast and furious: People have burned their Nike shoes, one college has trashed any gear with the Nike logo, and now one town in Louisiana has banned the purchase of any Nike products for its recreational facilities.
In response to Nike endorsing the man who triggered the anthem protest by declaring in 2016 that he was "not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Republican Mayor Ben Zahn of Kenner, Louisiana issued a new rule for the city's recreational facilities: No more Nike.
"Effective immediately all purchases made by any booster club operating at any Kenner Recreation Facility for wearing apparel, shoes, athletic equipment and/or any athletic product must be approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation, or his designee," Kenner wrote in an official memo, the Times-Picayune reported Sunday. "Under no circumstances will any Nike product or any product with the Nike logo be purchased for use or delivery at any City of Kenner Recreation Facility."
Donna Brazile, the former interim DNC chair and CNN analyst who allegedly leaked questions to Hillary Clinton, tweeted out the memo and said she was "disappointed" in her home town:
Yahoo Lifestyle notes that the mayor has gotten some criticism from some local officials, including the booster club president for one of the playgrounds and a city councilman, who said he's "100% AGAINST the decision" and vowed to "meet with the Mayor and other Council members in an effort to rescind this directive."
The response to Nike's endorsement of Kaepernick has been as divided as the response to his unpopular protest movement. While Nike reports a 31% increase in sales over last year, polling data suggests the Kaepernick endorsement isn't going over well at all. A Morning Consult poll last week found that Nike suffered a 34-point drop in favorability overall, with nearly every demographic souring on the brand. Here are the key takeaways from the poll:
Nike’s Favorability Drops by Double Digits: Before the announcement, Nike had a net +69 favorable impression among consumers, it has now declined 34 points to +35 favorable.
No Boost Among Key Demos: Among younger generations, Nike users, African Americans, and other key demographics, Nike’s favorability declined rather than improved.
Purchasing Consideration Also Down: Before the announcement, 49 percent of Americans said they were absolutely certain or very likely to buy Nike products. That figure is down to 39 percent now.
The Effect on the NFL Seems Small, For Now: Forty percent of consumers said Nike’s campaign does not make them more or less likely to watch/attend NFL games — 21 percent said more likely and 26 percent said less likely (14 percent didn’t know).
As the Daily Wire has reported, Kaepernick's protest movement kicked off during the 2016 preseason when he was backup QB for the San Francisco 49ers:
After the press noticed he refused to stand for the national anthem, he told NFL Media, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
Kaepernick has frequented the headlines ever since, including for his "Pig Cops" practice socks, his praise of Fidel Castro, and his racially-charged feud with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. After leading the 49ers to a dreadful 2-14 record, Kaepernickopted out of his contract and hasn't been picked up by a NFL team since, for which Kaepernick is now suing the league, citing alleged "collusion" among owners to keep him out for his ratings-damaging comments and actions.