Even with all the calls for boycotts by people across the country and all the videos of people burning their Nike shoes and other gear, the athletic company’s stock closed at an all-time high on Thursday.
Nike had grabbed a great deal of controversy after the company decided to hire the original anthem kneeler, Colin Kaepernick, as the face of a new “Just Do It” campaign, which launched earlier this month.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback made headlines in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem ahead of NFL games to protest racial injustice.
The ads displayed Kaepernick’s face with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Many people on the Right have taken particular issue with the campaign — those who oppose Kaepernick’s protests as disrespectful to the police and military, and those who disagree with the implication that Kaepernick sacrificed everything in his life.
In addition to the boycotts and destruction of Nike gear, at least two colleges have announced that their athletes and their university stores will no longer use or sell Nike products to students or community members.
The rest of the response to the campaign, however, has been more positive than some originally thought, as Nike sales over Labor Day weekend increased by 31 percent over the following week. That’s significantly larger than the 17 percent increase the company saw last year in the same period.
The stock has now recovered from its initial tumble, and Nike is trading at its all-time high — continuing the enormous climb it’s been on for nearly a year.
Many speculate this is because Nike buyers are primarily younger males — people who are more likely to support Kaepernick than the general population and less likely to boycott products in general.
After hitting a low of about $51 a share in October of last year, Nike shares have steadily climbed, reaching $82.91 a share in August. That previous high now has been exceeded, with shares closing yesterday at $83.47.
Time will tell whether consumers will continue supporting Nike through the remaining controversy.
For the moment, though it appears the decision to hire Kaepernick has not harmed the company — and may even have helped it.
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