Trump Says Nike ‘Is Getting Killed’ With Kaepernick Partnership

Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who infamously began taking a knee during the National Anthem in protest of a nation, is gainfully employed once again. Over the weekend, Nike sparked controversy by releasing news of a partnership with Kaepernick.  It’s a wide-ranging endorsement, granting him his own branded line, including shoes, shirts, jerseys, etc.

Most controversial wasn’t even necessarily the partnership with Kaepernick, but how they framed his supposed “struggle.” “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” an ad Nike released said, with the text covering the face of the multi-millionaire Kaepernick.

Most were dumbfounded at what exactly Kaepernick gave up, considering that it was him who turned down opportunities to play in the NFL again. Kaepernick apparently would rather play the victim than play football – pushing a bogus narrative that he was being blackballed by the NFL. It’s been a good move for him career-wise, as he’d made a bigger name for himself for his antics off the field than on.

President Trump weighed in on the controversy today on Twitter. “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

Yesterday he took a softer tone, noting that Nike is a tenant of his who “pays a lot of rent.” However, he probably since realized that Nike ceased renting space from Trump in May for their flagship “Nike Town” store.

Speaking of “getting absolutely killed,” investors do share concerns that could be a reality. Nike’s stock is down about 3% since their partnership with Kaepernick was announced (shedding about $3.75 billion in value), though we don’t know for sure how damaging this is to sales until they report earnings next quarter.

“Nike’s campaign will generate both attention and discussion which is, arguably, one of its central aims,” wrote Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, in a report yesterday. “However, it is also a risky strategy in that it addresses, and appears to take sides on, a highly politicized issue.” The ad could ultimately alienate customers and turn them into rivals’ products — which is not the purpose of a marketing campaign, Saunders continued.

Nike was talked about nearly 500,000 times on Twitter yesterday according to LikeFolio, which predicts stock market trends based off of social media data, compared to an average of 10,000 mentions per day. While the Kaepernick partnership attracted plenty of attention, 60% of it was negative.

We’ll see how this decision turns out soon enough – but if their fate is like any other companies that have recently attracted controversy for taking liberal stances, it’s unlikely to help. Dicks Sporting Goods suffered a sales decline after publicly backing gun control, Starbucks saw a sales decline after their CEO attacked Trump, Keurig did after they pulled ads from Hannity, and there are countless more examples. Ironically, the reverse never seems to be the case. Chick-fil-A has only gained in both sales and popularity since they were “outed” as a conservative-leaning Christian establishment.

By Matt

Matt is the co-founder of Unbiased America and a freelance writer specializing in economics and politics. He’s been published... More about Matt

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