Local residents react to Nike controversy

JACKSON, Tenn. — Some West Tennesseans said they plan to boycott Nike in light of a new ad campaign. It features a former NFL quarterback who took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.

“I think that what he did in this day and time was a really brave thing to do,” Martina Smith said.

Smith supports former NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem.

Others feel differently. “I don’t like it,” J.V. Davis said. “I think it’s disrespect to our flag.”

Nike plans to feature Kaepernick in a new ad campaign. “Right now I have on some Nike Air Jordans, so I’m supporting Nike,” Smith said. “I’m supporting the whole movement.”

Davis said he is disappointed in the decision and plans to boycott the brand. “I do not wear Nikes and I will not wear Nikes or any of their products,” he said.

WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News reached out to local schools and universities who wear Nike apparel.

Union University sent the following statement: “Union University has a contract for its athletic apparel with BSN. As part of that contract we wear Nike uniforms and gear. We stand for the playing of our national anthem and support the men and women who serve our country in the armed forces and those with the police and fire departments who work to keep us safe. As we do when all contracts are renewed, we will evaluate the best options for the University at that time.”

Jackson Christian said they wear Nike uniforms. The school said they signed a contract and are bound to that contract for now, but it may have to be evaluated in the future.

Trinity Christian Academy said their athletes wear Nike uniforms.  They sent the following statement: “TCA is under a contract with Nike. Once our contract expires, we will re-evaluate our relationship with Nike and make a decision that will be in the best interest of TCA.”

Haywood County Schools Superintendent Joey Hassell said they have teams that wear Nike uniforms, but the district does not plan to engage in the national debate.

University School of Jackson Head of School Stuart Hirstein said some of their athletic teams use Nike uniforms. “The financial piece in all of this needs to be considered,” he said. “For instance, we purchased Nike football uniforms two years ago and won’t be making a change because they are still in good shape and fairly new. We also allow coaches to make the decision regarding brand on their own. Each uniform is on a replacement cycle, and we will continue to follow that process because of the cost associated with the uniforms.”

Daniel McCarson said schools should reconsider wearing Nike. “They all need to stand as well,” he said.

Garrett Bowen said he is happy Nike picked Kaepernick for the ad campaign. “It’s undeniable that there is social injustice still in this country, and he is in a position to bring light to that.”

Nike shares dropped 3 percent after announcing plans to feature Kaepernick.

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