On Sept. 3, Nike celebrated the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan. The popular footwear manufacturing company and NFL uniform supplier released a controversial advertisement featuring former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick. In response, some pushed for a boycott of Nike products while others supported Nike’s bold stance. However, Nike must be aware that if it loses business, removing Kaepernick as an endorsement will look unethical.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, there are three benefits to using athletic endorsements: increasing brand name recognition, creating positive associations and aiding in the development of distinct brand personalities. Using Kaepernick as an endorsement would neither increase Nike’s brand recognition nor create positive associations, considering that many NFL fans do not agree with his views. Instead, fans were more focused on the fact that Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag, which clearly was not his intention.
Some supporters of Nike and NFL fans might be less inclined to purchase Nike products or watch the NFL therefore hurting their sales. As a result, Nike may choose to remove Kaepernick from its ad campaign in order to save its business. If Nike were to do this, it would show its true colors and imply that Kaepernick was only a means for virtue signaling. If the going gets tough, Nike will have to stick to its principles and prevent finances from altering its moral compass.