Trump says Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick sends 'a terrible message'

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderNike’s ad with Colin Kaepernick is facing some backlash and prompting comment from Trump.
  • President Donald Trump has weighed in on Nike‘s new ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, saying it “sends a terrible message” during an interview with conservative news outlet The Daily Caller.
  • Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. Trump has repeatedly criticised NFL players’ national-anthem protests.
  • Trump added in the interview: “It is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”

President Donald Trump has weighed in on Nike‘s polarising new ad featuring ex-NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump said that he thinks the ad sends “a terrible message.”

“I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it,” Trump told the conservative news site.

Kaepernick is the star of Nike’s new “Just Do It” ad, which the former NFL quarterback tweeted on Monday. The ad features a close-up of Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” emblazoned on his face. The reference to sacrifice most likely links Kaepernick’s going unsigned in the NFL to his kneeling during the national anthem, which he began doing in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Nike retweeted Kaepernick’s tweet with the ad.

Trump has been a vocal and repeated critic of the practice of kneeling during the national anthem, frequently calling the practice unpatriotic. His influence reportedly contributed to the NFL’s and team owners’ decision to announce a policy that would force players to either stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room while it is being played. That policy has been on hold since the NFL Players Association filed a grievance in July, The Washington Post reported.

NikeHollis Johnson/Business Insider

Trump noted his close relationship with Nike during the interview with The Daily Caller.

“Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent,” he said.

The brand currently occupies a store next to Trump Tower in Manhattan. It is closing the store later this year in preparation for its new flagship store on Fifth Avenue.

Trump added: “In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”

Nike’s Kaepernick campaign predictably blew up on social media, with some praising the ad and others lambasting both it and the company. It has spurred calls for a boycott of Nike products. Some social-media users posted videos of people lighting their shoes on fire.

A representative for Nike did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment on the boycott threats and Trump’s comments.

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