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Trump says Nike sending ‘terrible message’ with Kaepernick ads

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US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that Nike was sending “ a terrible message ” with an advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick .Kaepernick is the NFL quarterback whose decision to kneel during the national anthem sparked a national controversy.

“ I think as far as sending a message , I think it ’ s a terrible message and a message that shouldn ’ t be sent, ” Trump said in an interview with the Daily Caller .

“ There’ s no reason for it . ”
Trump , who has frequently railed against the decision by NFL players to kneel during the anthem , acknowledged in the interview that the company had “ certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn ’ t do. ”

Meanwhile , some protesters have been burning their Nike shoes , investors sold shares and some consumers demanded a boycott after the footwear and apparel maker launched an advertising campaign featuring Kaepernick .

But the brand recognition that comes with the campaign may be just what the company wanted , and marketing experts predicted it would ultimately succeed .

The ad revived a raging debate in the United States that started in 2016 when Kaepernick , then with the San Francisco 49 ers , began kneeling to protest multiple police shootings of unarmed black men .

“ This is right on the money for Nike . They stand for this irreverent, rebellious attitude . In this case , it ’ s reinforcing the brand , ” said Erich Joachimsthaler , CEO of strategy consulting firm Vivaldi .

While some fans praised Kaepernick and other players who joined him in kneeling as patriotic dissenters , critics led by US President Donald Trump blasted the protesters as ungrateful and disrespectful .

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The NFL , which gave in to pressure from Trump and ordered players not to kneel on the field during the anthem , nonetheless praised Kaepernick .

“ The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action , ” said Jocelyn Moore, the NFL ’ s executive vice president of communications and public affairs.

In the immediate backlash against the campaign , announced on Monday , Nike shares fell nearly 4 per cent at one point on Tuesday and closed down 3 . 2 per cent .

Calls for a boycott fed social media buzz about the campaign . There were 2 . 7 million mentions of Nike over the previous 24 hours , the social media analysis firm Talkwalker said at midday , an increase of 135 per cent over the previous week .

After his protests , Kaepernick could not find a job for the 2017 season and sued the National Football League , accusing owners of colluding to blackball him . He is still without a team .

Nike has sponsored Kaepernick since 2011 and said he will be one of several faces for a campaign marking the 30 th anniversary of its “ Just Do It ” slogan .

The ad refers to Kaepernick ’ s loss of NFL income with the quote : “ Believe in something . Even if it means sacrificing everything . ”

Some who were offended by the choice posted social media pictures of Nike shoes they had set on fire or socks with the Nike swoosh cut out .

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Twitter user Sean Clancy , or @ sclancy 79 , posted a picture of a pair of Nike trainers on fire on Tuesday that was retweeted 20 , 000 times .

Athletes including Serena Williams, LeBron James , Kevin Durant and Chris Paul showed support .

The controversy may have been a convenient excuse for some investors to sell an over – valued stock , Vivaldi ’ s Joachimsthaler said .

Christopher Svezia , a footwear and apparel analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. , said Nike shares were trading at roughly 30 times next year ’ s forecast earnings , compared with 24 percent for rival Adidas .

“ Nike more than anyone else really knows who their customer is , ” Svezia said , describing them as largely 14 – to 22 – year -old males .

Matt Powell, a senior adviser with market research firm NPD Group , predicted the boycott would fizzle . “ Old angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike , ” he said .

Barry Lowenthal , CEO of The Media Kitchen, praised the campaign and said Nike has long proven successful in using celebrity endorsements to promote its brand , a precursor to what is known as influencer marking in the social media age .

“ These kind of endorsement deals were the first version of influencer marketing . Of course , they know it works . It ’ s classic product placement , ” Lowenthal said .

Even former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad weighed in , tweeting : “ The # NFL season will start this week , unfortunately once again @ Kaepernick 7 is not on a NFL roster. ”

( Reuters / NAN )

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