Nike gear won’t be worn by athletic teams at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Mo., in response to the shoe and apparel company’s Colin Kaepernick advertising campaign.
“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said in a statement. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”
Among the ads is a close-up of Kaepernick and the line “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Nike will air a commercial featuring the “Just do it” slogan with Kaepernick’s narration Thursday night during the NFL season opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons.
“Nike is free to campaign as it sees fit, as the College is free, and honor-bound by its mission and goals, to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed,” said Marci Linson, the school’s vice-president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions.
College of the Ozarks, which competes in the NAIA, said it plans to remove all uniforms purchased from Nike or ones that contain the company’s “swoosh” logo.
In 2016, Kaepernick became a polarizing figure when as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers he kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
Kaepernick, who was the starting quarterback for the 49ers in the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, hasn’t played since 2016 and last year filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding not to hire him.
This isn’t the first time College of the Ozarks, a private, Christian liberal arts school, has been in the news because of athletic teams or events.
The college revised its sports contracts last October to stipulate all participating coaches and players “show respect for the American flag and national anthem.”
Because of that decision, the NAIA moved the Division II Men’s Basketball Championship from the school, where it had been played for the past 18 seasons.