In an ironic twist of fate, a US sporting goods store that refused to stock Nike apparel in protest to their partnership with controversial star Colin Kaepernick, has been forced to close.
Kaepernick, formerly a starting quarterback for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, sparked major controversy in 2016 when he refused to stand during the American national anthem.
He explained that it was to represent African American rights, particularly as it pertained to criminal justice reform, saying in a post-game interview: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour”.
The bold move was met with support from many, particularly NFL players, but drew the ire of others who felt that it was disrespectful to the men and women who had served on behalf of their country.
Despite his talents, Kaepernick has been unable to secure another position since the 2016 season, seemingly made into a martyr in the conservative NFL landscape.
Last year, Kaepernick appeared in an ad campaign for Nike with the slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”, sending massive shockwaves through the sporting apparel industry.
Some went so far as to burn their Nike products to show their disapproval, and Stephen Kurtis Martin, owner of sporting goods store Prime Time Sports in Colorado, immediately marked down all Nike products at half-price, refusing to stock the brand from thereon.
Martin confessed that he expected difficulties, telling a local television station: “Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas”.
“How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys”.
Five months later, Martin has discovered that the answer, perhaps, is that you can’t.
He took to Facebook to announce the upcoming closure of the store, saying: “Thank You for 21 mostly good years.
“For everybody that has offered help and support through the “Honor The Flag” memorial wall and NIKE boycott, now is your time to help me liquidate”.
Martin’s Facebook account has been active with responses both positive and negative since his initial decision to boycott Nike in September, though the latest development has skewed public opinion towards more of an antagonistic slant.
One commenter summarised the situation: “The irony. Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”.