Amid backlash against Nike over its decision to use former quarterback Colin Kaepernick for its “Just Do It” campaign, U.S. congressman is saying that people should get rid of their Nikes and replace them with New Balances.
“With Nike hiring Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers famed kneeling quarterback, who protest[ed] during our national anthem, there has never been a better time to show off your Maine-Made New Balance shoes!” said Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, on Facebook on Sept. 6.
“There are hundreds of your fellow Mainers who make these shoes that no doubt agree,” Poliquin added. “Share if you agree too.” New Balance is based in Boston, Massachusetts.
With Nike hiring Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers famed kneeling quarterback, who protest during our national…
Meanwhile, on a Facebook page dedicated to Ann Romney, a number of commentators wrote that they would buy New Balance.
“My husband will not buy anything but New Balance. Because they are made in America, and the most comfortable,” one person wrote. “Love my New Balance Shoes! Will be shopping for a new pair this weekend,” wrote another person.
“Buy New balance not Nike,” another wrote.
In September 2016, Kaepernick drew national ire after he took a knee during the playing of the U.S. national anthem, saying that he is protesting injustice and police brutality. It’s become a thorny issue for the NFL, advertisers, and players. Last year, President Donald Trump said that players who take a knee should be fired, triggering about 200 NFL players to protest that Sunday during the anthem.
The new Nike campaign, unveiled last week, features a black-and-white photo of Kaepernick, who hasn’t been signed with an NFL team, with the text: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it.”
A number of people on social media indicated that they would boycott Nike while some posted videos and photos of them burning Nike apparel and shoes.
Nike Takes a Hit
“Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?” President Trump tweeted this week.
On Sept. 7, Trump again weighed in on the controversy: “What was Nike thinking?”
A poll from Morning Consult found that before the campaign, 49 percent of respondents said they would buy Nike products. After the Kaepernick ad was launched, only 39 percent said they would, according to the survey.
“Before the announcement, Nike had a net +69 favorable impression among consumers, it has now declined 34 points to +35 favorable,” said Morning Consult.
There was also no boost among its key demographic. “Among younger generations, Nike users, African Americans, and other key demographics, Nike’s favorability declined rather than improved,” said the pollster.
In 2016, Matt LeBretton, New Balance’s vice president for communications, told The Wall Street Journal that the firm “we feel things are going to move in the right direction” under Trump, who was not yet sworn into office. LeBretton’s comments were made in the context of Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. As the New York Times noted at the time, people posted photos or videos of them burning New Balance shoes or throwing them in the trash over the purported Trump support.