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Nike Suffers $790 Million Loss, CEO Confirms Layoffs
A Nike Ad featuring American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick is on diplay September 8, 2018 in New York City. - Nike's new ad campaign featuring Kaepernick, the American football player turned activist against police violence, takes a strong stance on a divisive issue which could score points with millennials but risks alienating conservative customers. The ads prompted immediate calls for Nike boycotts over Kaepernick, who has been castigated by US President Donald Trump and other conservatives over his kneeling protests during the playing of the US national anthem. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

“Woke” brand Nike suffered a stunning $790 million loss last quarter and has confirmed they are laying off staffers, Business Insider reported Friday.

Part of the massive loss is due to the effects of the coronavirus response, the report said; however, Nike CEO John Donahoe said that “layoffs were not related to the pandemic.”

The layoffs, according to the CEO, are part of an effort to restructure an “overburdened matrix,” according to Complex’s knowledge of an internal email sent from Donahoe.

“These decisions are exceptionally difficult because they impact friends and colleagues at Nike,” the CEO told employees via email, Complex said. “You have my personal commitment that we will put people at the center throughout this entire process. We will support everyone impacted by this transition.”

“Consumer Direct Acceleration is the next digitally empowered phase of our strategy,” Nike said in a statement to Business Insider. “We are building a flatter, nimbler company and transforming Nike faster to define the marketplace of the future. We are shifting resources and creating capacity to reinvest in our highest potential areas, and we anticipate our realignment will likely result in a net loss of jobs.”

“We are committed to showing compassion and respect for our transitioning employees through thoughtful and robust severance practices, consistent with our company values, our legal obligations, the competitive marketplace and individual employee situations,” the statement added.

In 2018, controversial activist and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was signed to Nike in a “top of the line” deal.

“Sports agents were hesitant to predict an exact dollar figure for what the deal could be worth,” Money reported at the time, adding, “But due to the sheer amount of exposure Kaepernick’s sponsorship deal has already generated, it wouldn’t be outrageous for it to land somewhere in the ballpark of millions of dollars per year, they said.”

The financial outlet highlighted Serena Williams’ reported $50 million five-year contract with Nike back in 2003.

“If you said that he was going to get seven figures, I wouldn’t be surprised,” Joe Linta, the president of JL Sports, speculated about Kaepernick’s deal.

Last July, Kaepernick, most well known for his national anthem protest, forced Nike to pull an American flag-themed shoe called the “Betsy Ross” from production, apparently telling the company the shoe was “offensive.”

“The sneaker giant created the Air Max 1 USA in celebration of the July Fourth holiday, and it was slated to go on sale this week. The heel of the shoe featured a U.S. flag with 13 white stars in a circle, a design created during the American Revolution and commonly referred to as the Betsy Ross flag,” The Wall Street Journal outlined.

“After images of the shoe were posted online, Mr. Kaepernick, a Nike endorser, reached out to company officials saying that he and others felt the Betsy Ross flag is an offensive symbol because of its connection to an era of slavery, the people said,” a source told the Journal. “Some users on social media responded to posts about the shoe with similar concerns. Mr. Kaepernick declined to comment.”

As noted by The Daily Wire, the shoe was shipped out to retailers before Nike quickly recalled the “offensive” item and demanded retailers return their stock.

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