A number of people have burned Nike sneakers and apparel after the firm announced that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s “Just Do It” ad.
Kaepernick is best known for taking a knee during the national anthem, in a move that he says is to protest police brutality. A number of other NFL players have taken a knee during the national anthem, drawing the ire of many fans. President Donald Trump suggested last year that players who kneel should be fired, sparking widespread protests across the league.
Many users on Twitter posted images or videos of burning Nike products.
Nike shares dropped about 2.6 percent on Sept. 4.
County music singer John Rich said that his soundman, a former Marine, “cut the Nike swoosh off his socks.” He added: “Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions.”
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
The new Nike campaign showed an image of Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The ex-quarterback posted the picture to his Twitter page.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
“Nike is not a stranger for backing sporting personalities who take views and act on them. Politicizing sport is likely to result in polarizing demographics,” said John Guy, an analyst at Mainfirst Bank in London. “Freedom of speech is one of America’s core tenants, so placing this freedom within a sporting context for a brand as big as Nike will always make headlines,” he added.
Under Armour faced criticism last year after its chief executive made comments supporting Trump, while Adidas drew calls in May to cut its ties to rapper Kanye West after supporting Trump.
Reuters contributed to this report