Angry Nike customers burn their shoes after NFL star and anthem protester Colin Kaepernick gets new advertising deal
Angry Nike customers have filmed themselves burning apparel from the brand after it was announced that American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick will appear in their new advert.
Kaepernick was one of the first NFL players to kneel during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice - a move seen by many as offensive to America and its veterans.
After Nike revealed the new Just Do It campaign, which featured a close-up image of Kaepernick’s face with the words, ‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything’ across it, images of former customers destroying their clothes and trainers began to emerge.
Twitter user Sean Clancy posted footage of him burning a pair of Nike trainers, captioned, "First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country.
"I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?"
One tweeter, Phil Braun, set his Nike shoes alight while they were still on his feet and claims he was later hospitalised for severe burns.
"I stand for the #flag and to honer @bigandrich and their Soundman & the Prresident I am going to burn my #Nike shoes!!!!!!!!!," he tweeted.
Though not everyone decided to set fire to their clothes, many supported the movement and voiced their fury using the hashtag #BoycottNike.
Many retorted in support of Kaepernick, with tennis ace Serena Williams writing that she was "especially proud to be a part of the Nike family today."
Former CIA director John O. Brennan also tweeted positively about Nike's decision to his followers.
"Colin Kaepernick drew our collective attention to the problem of continued racial injustice in America," he wrote.
"He did so not to disrespect our flag but to give meaning to the words of the preamble of our Constitution—“in order to form a more perfect union.” Well done, Colin, well done."
Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, announced Nike's new appointment on Twitter, calling the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback an “All American Icon”.
Kaepernick also posted the controversial advert to his followers.
Kaepernick already had a deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multi-year deal to make him one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, according to a person familiar with the contract.
The source says Nike will feature Kaepernick on several platforms, including billboards, television commercials and online ads.
Nike also will create an apparel line for Kaepernick and contribute to his Know Your Rights charity. The deal puts Kaepernick in the top bracket of NFL players with Nike.
The NFL and Nike extended their partnership in March to run through 2028.
Nike provides all NFL teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that bears the swoosh logo.
Last week, Kaepernick scored a legal victory in his grievance against the NFL and its 32 teams when an arbitrator denied the league’s request to throw out the quarterback’s claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests against social injustice.
Kaepernick contends the owners violated their collective bargaining agreement with players by conspiring to keep him off teams.
His case hinges on whether owners worked together rather than decided individually to not sign Kaepernick.
A similar grievance is still pending by former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, a Pro Bowl safety who joined in the protests.
On Friday night, Kaepernick and Reid, also now out of the league, were each given huge ovations when they were introduced and shown on the big screen during a match between Serena and Venus Williams at the US Open.
Kaepernick began a wave of protests by NFL players two seasons ago, kneeling during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
The protests have grown into one of the most polarising issues in sports, with President Donald Trump loudly urging the league to suspend or fire players who demonstrate during the anthem.
Meanwhile, the league and players union still have not resolved whether players will be punished this season if they choose to kneel or demonstrate during the national anthem.
Owners approved a policy requiring players to stand if they are on the sideline during The Star-Spangled Banner, allowing them to stay off the field if they wish.
But the league and union put that on hold after the Miami Dolphins faced backlash for classifying the protests as conduct potentially detrimental to the team — putting players at risk of fines or suspensions.