Nike shares closed lower in the US Tuesday, after the sports company unveiled its first ad featuring new face of the brand, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The American Football player has been out of a team for over a year, after choosing to protest racial inequality by kneeling during the US national anthem. The Nike ad slogan featuring Kaepernick is “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Nike shares ended the US Tuesday session 3.16% lower at $79.60. The stock is also a little in the red in out-of-hours activity.
Nike makes strong statement
Nike’s new advertising campaign comes on the 30th anniversary of its Just Do It slogan. Kaepernick was chosen alongside Serena Williams and two other NFL players, Odell Beckham Jr and Shaquem Griffin.
Williams said Nike’s latest advert was a “powerful statement”.
“Having a huge company back him could be a controversial reason for this company, but they're not afraid,” Williams said, according to a BBC article. “I feel like that was a really powerful statement to a lot of other companies.”
On announcing the news, Nike called Kaepernick “one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation.”
While there is a lot of support for Nike’s decision, there has also been a major backlash against the decision to use Kaepernick, who was also criticised by US President Donald Trump for his actions.
Critics have called on people to burn their Nike apparel and accessories in protest of Kaepernick being the new face of the brand. Slogans #JustBurnIt and #BoycottNike, have been trending on social media.
Meanwhile, although Kaepernick has been granted permission to take a case against the NFL for his treatment of hum to trail, the US National Football League has said that the injustices Kaepernick raised “deserve our attention and action.”
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” said the NFL’s executive VP of communications, Jocelyn Moore.
“The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action,” she added.