Nike’s launch of a major marketing campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is currently suing all 32 league owners for collusion, came just months after the league extended its partnership. with the clothing giant.
Announced last March, the deal established Nike as the official supplier of NFL uniforms and secondary gear until the 2028 season – an eight-year extension from the previous terms of the deal. Although financial terms were not disclosed, Nike is likely paying more than the $ 1.1 billion it would have paid when it initially obtained the exclusive rights to the NFL clothing in 2012.
Nike remains a top corporate sponsor, though Kaepernick, who will star in a campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of the brand’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan, accuses league officials of plotting to make it happen. ‘move away from the field for his role in popularizing player protests during the national anthem. The NFL appeared to support its trading partner’s move in a statement Tuesday.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We take on the role and responsibility of everyone involved in this game to promote meaningful and positive change in our communities, ”said Jocelyn Moore, executive vice president of communications and public affairs for the NFL. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Kaepernick kicked off a national debate during the 2016 NFL season when, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, he became the first player to kneel during the national anthem to protest social injustice and police brutality in America. The protests by Kaepernick and other NFL players angered President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticized the league’s handling of the problem and called on the owners to fire any player who kneels during the anthem.
The 30-year-old quarterback has not played in the NFL since relinquishing his contract with the 49ers at the end of the 2016 season, despite strong statistical performances on the field and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII . An independent adjudicator ruled last month that his collusion grievance could be adjudicated.
Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick in its campaign drew a mixed reaction on social media, with some commentators praising the clothing brand’s decision and others calling for a boycott. Kaepernick has been a Nike athlete since 2011.
Nike shares fell more than 2% in trading on Tuesday.
This offseason, the NFL said players will have the option of sitting on the sidelines for the national anthem or waiting in the locker room. The league is currently revising this policy after criticism from the NFL Players Union.
The NFL enacted a new social justice platform last January that would contribute at least $ 89 million in funding for community outreach and other efforts.