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In the time-honored tradition of consumers expressing their rage at companies aligning with perceived liberal policies, people took to Twitter on Monday to light their own property on fire.
This time, it was Nike gear.
The offense? Partnering with Colin Kaepernick as the face of their “Just Do It” campaign.
Nike fires light up Twitter
This guy lit a porch fire with his Nike shirts and plans to spend money on Tuesday to get new sneakers.
Sean chose to light up his shoes (and his lawn?) while pondering what he’d look like in Adidas.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
The sound man for country act Big and Rich avoided the flames, but decided to cut the logo off his socks, presumably still planning to wear them. John Rich, of said country act, had his own fit of rage over the Kaepernick deal.
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
This guy put in the most impressive effort, cueing up a “Star-Spangled Banner” soundtrack while showing off his luxury of being able to light up five perfectly good pairs of shoes. His only downfall was forgetting to direct his cameraman to maintain a horizontal shot.
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alteratyeshiva) September 4, 2018
Phil seems to be poking fun at the folks lighting leather fires. At least we hope that’s the case.
— Phil Braun (@playazball) September 4, 2018
Nick just wishes he had some Nikes of his own to burn.
Wish I owned some Nike I could burn. https://t.co/UJ504kwxJ5
— Nick Sigur (@nsigur) September 4, 2018
Brenda showed off her Chuck Taylor love in response to conservative pundit Candace Owens endorsing Adidas. Unfortunately for Brenda, nobody told her that Nike owns Converse.
— Brenda Murph (@mamurf41) September 3, 2018
Meanwhile, loyal Nike fans called for an end to the madness, offering to take unwanted shoes off the hands of the angry.
If anyone wants to burn their size 6 Converse(owned by Nike) I will take them off your hands.
— Shauna Jaynes (@JaynesShauna) September 4, 2018
if you’re gonna burn some nice Nike air max 97’s etc don’t …just give them to me.
— mo peep$ 💸 (@mo_peeps2) September 4, 2018
Of course, people choosing to destroy their property could instead donate their unwanted gear to causes in need. But that would defeat their purpose of, umm. Well, they really just seem determined to burn their stuff.
Risk was apparent when Nike made Kaepernick deal
The backlash is expected. Nike took a huge risk aligning itself with perhaps the most divisive of pop culture flash points in the bizarre world that we occupy in 2018.
The order of off-limits topics of conversation in dive bars now reads religion, politics and Colin Kaepernick.
Nike presumably chose this path because it decided it wanted to be on the right side of history. Because being on the right side of history is good business.
Muhammad Ali was reviled by many in his time for political stances that included boycotting the Vietnam War. He died an American hero.
Kaepernick is the face of a movement seeking to raise awareness of the plight of black Americans who suffer violence and injustice at the hands of bad police. He is not evil. He is not un-American. Nike understands that.
Many of Nike’s customers don’t understand that or choose to disagree for other reasons.
Nike blowback will intensify
The news of the Nike deal broke on a holiday with markets closed and people enjoying time off from work and the internet. News pundits were off. President Donald Trump hasn’t tweeted yet. NFL football kicks off Thursday.
There will be blowback, and it will be loud.
How this plays out for Nike won’t be clear anytime soon.
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