Hooray for Nike

Okay, you’ve got to figure that Nike wouldn’t undertake their Kaepernick campaign if they didn’t think it was ultimately going to be profitable.  But still, in a corporate world that seems to reward risk-aversion, I appreciate that they are doing this.  Not that it will change my buying behavior.  In case you missed it:

Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback who inspired a player protest movement but who has been out of a job for more than a year, has signed a new, multiyear deal with Nike that makes him a face of the 30th anniversary of the sports apparel company’s “Just Do It” campaign, Nike confirmed on Monday.

The first advertisement from Nike, one of the league’s top partners, debuted Monday afternoon, when Kaepernick tweeted it, assuring that his activism and the protest movement against racism and social injustice he started would continue to loom over one of the country’s most powerful sports leagues.

Nike will produce new Kaepernick apparel, including a shoe and a T-shirt, and if the merchandise sells well, the value of the deal will rival those of other top N.F.L. players, according to people close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because Nike had not formally announced it. Nike will also donate money to Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” campaign.

The NYT story continues with highlights of some of the absolutely moronic (and utterly predictable) backlash.  What’s so frustrating is that you have to be zealously, willfully, ignorant to think the Anthem protest is about hating America and not “supporting the troops,” rather than the reality that this is a highly-visible way to protest police brutality against minorities.  Or, maybe you just have to get all your news from Fox.

I enjoyed the fun with this that Stephen Crockett had at The Root:

Snowflakes immediately ran to the internet to post images of them burning old-ass Nikes purchased during the late ’90s and cutting the Nike swoosh off their socks because, judging from their level of outrage, tube socks mean much more to them than black lives.

Seriously, look at this goofy shit. This dude burned a complete set of Marshalls clearance-rack Nikes that he purchased with his own money to protest Nike standing with Kap…

This Nike controversy reveals that the people who really support the Nike brand are people who look like Kaepernick. Nike knows who’s waiting in line to purchase the exclusive Nike releases and it’s not the pickup truck-driving, Arkansas good ole boy whose alternative brands of footwear is usually tied together by the shoestrings and retrieved from a bin next to the lawn mower blades.

Make no mistake about it, Nike is a huge company whose hands are not clean, but it does feel good to know that the company who makes NFL uniforms; a company that has one of the biggest ad buys during NFL games; and a company that was recently used to bait teens in an impoverished Chicago neighborhood stands with the guy who’s protesting for black people’s right to life.

And, actually, to this point in an serious and empirical way, this tweet from Brian Schaffner is telling:

 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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