Truett McConnell University in Georgia said they will no longer sell Nike merchandise in response to Nike’s recent deal with controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The University’s president said campus shops sell between $10,000 and $20,000 worth of Nike gear a year, including clothing that has the University logo together with the Nike logo.
“As a university, I just can’t have a representation of someone that, in my mind, is as unpatriotic as it is,” Dr. Caner said. “It’s not something that Truett McConnell University can stand for.”
University president Dr. Emir Caner old 11 Alive that he doesn’t think the small, 2,600 student university will hurt Nike’s sales much, but says that he made the decision on principle.
“I’ve told my students, I know some will disagree with me, and, hey, that’s what free speech is all about,” he said. “It’s something the students need to learn and discuss, and that’s what we’ve done. By the way, we’ve had some healthy discussions.”
Truett McConnell University Drops Nike Apparel in Protest over Kaepernick Ad. https://bit.ly/2NVotUR
The University plans to sell off its remaining Nike merchandise and donate the profits to the Wounded Warrior Project and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Kaepernick has been in a legal fight with the NFL, accusing the league of colluding to keep him from playing after his initiation of the ongoing NFL national anthem protests. Many have seen the protests as a slight on the military and the country as a whole.
“If Nike chooses to apologize to our troops and to our law enforcement officers, then—and only then—will TMU reconsider their brand,” said President Caner, via the university. “In the meanwhile, let us honor true heroes, those who protect us daily, some even sacrificing their own lives. They are the true heroes.”
Kaepernick is part of Nike’s ad campaign that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan. The ad features Kaepernick’s face and the message “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
“We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes,” said Nike’s vice president of brand marketing for North America, Gino Fisanotti, via ESPN. Nike is aiming the new campaign at 15- to 17-year-olds.
A STATEMENT FROM OUR PRESIDENT REGARDING NIKEAmerica has sacrificially given my family the freedoms we enjoy today. My…
President Trump expressed his views on Nike’s decision with the ad campaign via Twitter.
“What was Nike thinking?” He wrote in a Sept. 7 tweet.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” He wrote on Sept. 5 tweet. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?”
In an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump mentioned that Nike is a tenant of his. The Niketown store in New York City is located in a property Trump owns. He also commented on Nike using Kaepernick as a business decision.
“As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way—I mean, I wouldn’t have done it—In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it,” he said.