Sick of hearing about the Robert Woodward book and the New York Times OpEd? Tired of hearing about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings and Corey Booker and Kamala Harris? How about Donald Trump’s polls, who’ll win the House in November, and whether Joe Biden is running for president in 2020? OK. Fine. Then, let’s talk about sports. Or maybe lack of sports. Or the business of sports. . .

Fox reports on Nike’s featuring Colin Kaepernick in an ad to run in the first game of the NFL season.

Nike’s polarizing decision to put Colin Kaepernick at the center of its latest ad campaign has aggravated NFL employees, infuriated fans and even affected the sneaker giant’s stock. But publicly, at least, the league is playing nice with its corporate partner. . .

“The inclusion of Mr. Kaepernick in Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign also perpetuates the falsehood that police are racist and aiming to use force against African-Americans and persons of color,” NAPO President Michael McHale wrote in a letter to Nike’s chairman.

. . . sports talk radio host Clay Travis, , ,called Nike’s decision “disastrous” and “pathetic,” and reiterated his theory that politics is bad for sports.

“I think this is likely to be the single most disastrous marketing decision in the history of sports. I think it will end up costing Nike billions of dollars in sales,” Travis wrote. . .

Tyler Merritt is the CEO of Nine Line Apparel. . .thinks it’s absurd for Nike to make waves when football season is about to start. . .

Try as we may, we can’t keep Trump out of even a sports story. He brought it up during a Daily Caller interview.

“I think it’s a terrible message. Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent,” Trump said, referring to Niketown New York, which is — for now — located at 6 East 57th Street in New York City. . .

Trump has been staunchly and vocally opposed to players protesting during the anthem . . Trump added Tuesday that “there’s no reason” for the famous sports apparel company to tap Kaepernick for the campaign.

Business Insider mentioned Trump’s tweets.

“Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump tweeted. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?”

Actual business analysts disagree, noting that Nike stock initially slid, but the long-term response will make the move seem brilliant.

Protesters burned their Nike shoes, investors sold shares and some consumers demanded a boycott after the footwear and apparel maker launched an advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback who sparked a national controversy by kneeling during the national anthem.

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

“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. . .

Christopher Svezia, a footwear and apparel analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc., said. . .”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.

British conservative commentator Piers Morgan also stepped into the fray, according to the Daily Wire, pontificating that it’s OK to kneel but not to sit, and it’s OK to protest, as long as you suffer.

Morgan’s op-ed in The Daily Mail recounted Morgan’s initial reaction to Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem, which prompted Morgan’s disapproval over what he wrote was an “unnecessarily insulting form of protest.” But when Kaepernick followed by kneeling, Morgan discussed the situation with former NFL player Nate Boyer and decided Kaepernick had the right to kneel.

Morgan quoted Jason Whitlock, Fox Sports commenter, who bristled, “Told y’all from Day One this has always been about the money. All of it. Revolutionaries aren’t sponsored by major corporations. It’s been a hustle from the giddy-up.” Morgan commented, “He’s got a point hasn’t he?”

Early on, Kareem Abdul-Jabar disagreed, saying, “Insulting Colin Kaepernick says more about our patriotism than his.”

One of the ironies of the way some people express their patriotism is to brag about our freedoms, especially freedom of speech, but then brand as unpatriotic those who exercise this freedom to express dissatisfaction with the government’s record in upholding the Constitution. . .

We should admire those who risk personal gain in the service of promoting the values of their country.

Because of the controversy, Time Magazine had Kaepernick as runner up in it’s annual “person of the year” decision for 2017.

Colin Kaepernick last played in an NFL game on Jan. 1. But over the past 11 months, he’s exerted more influence on American society than any of the stars lighting up television screens on Sundays. A silent protest that began in 2016, when Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to police brutality and racial injustice, grew into a social movement that highlighted the nation’s cultural divide, roiled powerful institutions from the NFL to the White House, and forced us all to grapple with difficult questions about protest, patriotism and free speech—issues many would rather ignore, let alone face as part of their weekend entertainment.

In fact, Kaepernick is being considered a modern-day Muhammad Ali.

Kaepernick is the Ali of his generation. He is the slave who could read; the nerd physically strong enough to fight back; the athlete with intellectual acumen; the QB with consciousness. He actually stands for something, believes in something, does not respect or fear his persecutors and cannot be controlled. And they hate him for it. Like the great men before him, Colin will end up on the right side of history and will be loved eventually … when he’s dead.

The fact is that sports is business, and business is politics. My math teacher would therefore conclude that sports is politics. And Kaepernick is all three.

3 COMMENTS

  1. No way Kaepernick comes even close to Ali. Ali was the greatest and his actions (going to Canada) meant a lot.

    Kaepernick, like Booker, is a grandstander. Nothing else.

    • Ali didn’t go to Canada. He stayed here and fought, until his conviction was overturned. In fact, the government took away his passport.

  2. Muhammad Ali’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court with a vote of 8-0. The main reason for their decision was because the local draft board refused Ali the right to claim “Conscientious Objector” on his draft card status.

    Nike has had Kaepernick under contract since 2011, and has just negotiated a “new, multi-year pact” with him. Nike shoes factories are located in China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and a dozens other small countries such as Malaysia, Pakistan, India and Thailand. They are made on the cheap and sold at an unbelievable price tag in US. Stores. Remember Nikes make their money when you purchased the shoes you are now going to burn at no financial loss to them. Nike employs over 26,000 people in the US to sell their shoes and does business in 190 countries around the world.

    The Nike Flagship store was the largest Trump Organization tenant occupying a single space. Nike will move its flagship store when their contract ends in early 2019. Less than six months and “bam, they’ll be gone” from Trump Tower. Nike is a rare example of a big company taking a loud, public stand for social justice and civil rights.

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