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PHILADELPHIA (CNN/CBS) — Nike’s decision to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of its latest advertising campaign has some sports fans burning with rage.
People upset with the move have started setting fire to their sneakers and sportswear to protest Nike using Kaepernick to promote the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” advertising campaign.
Some have started a #NikeBoycott hashtag on social media.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 4, 2018
The former San Francisco 49er has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the National Anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans and other racial injustices. Dozens of other players began joining Kaepernick, and he has become a symbol of the dividing lines over race in America.
“I think he’s someone two years ago who started this and he’s abiding on the mission he believes in peaceful protest,” said Deborah Williams when asked what she thought of the photo.
Nike’s decision has been heavily criticized by some customers who posted videos to social media of them burning and cutting up their Nike attire.
But, will it actually hurt Nike’s bottom line?
“The immediate reaction is not going to be the full reaction,” said Joe Mahan.
Joe Mahan, the chair of the department of sport and recreation management at Temple University, say doubts it will hurt the company.
“There is probably no such thing as bad publicity,” said Mahan.
Besides, Nike spends a lot of money on their advertising campaigns, some 3.5 billion worldwide a year.
One man who spoke with Eyewitness News believes Nike knew what they were getting into.
“I get the feeling they didn’t do this just by chance,” he said. “They did a lot of market research.”
Joe Mahan says that cash is often carefully spent on advertisements meant to get your attention.
Nike’s public support of Kaepernick also risks the wrath of US President Donald Trump.
…and now, #NikeBoycott?
If you morons cared as much about Veterans as you pretend to, why not DONATE those Nikes to needy Vets instead of destroying them?
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) September 4, 2018
Trump and his allies have repeatedly seized on the issue. At a rally in Alabama last year, Trump said team owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field” if a player knelt in protest of injustice during the anthem. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game after some players knelt.
This is not the first time members of the public have protested against brands by destroying the goods they had previously purchased.
Last April, members of the National Rifle Association took aim at YETI coolers after the company canceled its relationship with the gun-rights lobby.
Some even blew up the coolers, which sell for hundreds of dollars.
In November 2016, customers of sportswear brand New Balance burned their shoes in protest of its perceived support for Trump.
While Nike has received a lot of criticism, others have come out in support.
After seeing Nike’s announcement that names Kaepernick the face of the “Just Do It” campaign, venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton bought a pair of Nike shoes.
Hamilton said she did so to show support for Kaepernick and fellow Nike ambassador Serena Williams.
Marcia Loverdi offered her support for the company, claiming she had gone out and bought new sneakers.
“Will kneel for social injustices any day of the week rather than stand for intolerance and bigotry,” she tweeted.
Nike’s campaign also features New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Shaquem Griffin, a rookie linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks whose left hand was amputated when he was a child.
(The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)