President Donald Trump shot back at Nike for including ousted NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a new advertising campaign, calling his inclusion a “terrible message.”
BREAKING: Nike had been paying Colin Kaepernick all along, waiting for the right moment. That moment is now, as he becomes the face of the company’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign. pic.twitter.com/uccpDStbq5
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 3, 2018
The campaign (seen above) launched Monday to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the iconic “Just Do It” slogan.
“I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it,” Trump told the Daily Caller, “but I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.”
Trump has consistently chided Kaepernick and other NFL players for taking a knee in protest during the playing of the national anthem at football contests. Since the protests’ inception, the participating players have insisted the gesture was meant to call attention to police brutality disproportionally affecting African Americans. Trump and his followers incorrectly label the protest as an affront to the United States flag.
An added wrinkle to this current iteration of the controversy is Nike’s major sponsorship of NFL apparel, prompting a league spokesperson to comment on the new ad campaign.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs, said in a statement. “We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities.
“The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Kaepernick has been a part of the Nike family since 2011. The company kept him on its endorsement roster since then, but had not used him in the past two years.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN on Monday.
Nike’s statement seems to align with its true values, even if their actions are ultimately profit driven. For what it’s worth, company employees overwhelmingly donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets. Further, Nike is in the process of relocating one of its properties out of a Trump-owned building.
“As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way — I mean, I wouldn’t have done it,” Trump said.
“In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”