To the People Angry at Nike Over the Colin Kaepernick Deal

Get Over It Already!

Nike, Inc., gives zero shits about people setting their already purchased Nike apparel and footwear on fire because of Colin Kaepernick’s new endorsement deal. They’ve already profited from those purchases…and they are laughing all the way to the bank.

Nike has always paid top athletes in many sports to use their products and promote and advertise their technology and design. Controversial, retired, or otherwise.

For those upset by Nike’s selection of Colin Kaepernick, you need to understand Nike made a business decision. A business decision that demonstrates they clearly understand their consumer bases and market segments. Apparently, their revenues don’t rely heavily on the angry birds and fire starters, or it would have made a different business decision.

Nike, one of the world’s most valuable brands in 2018, decided to bet against the old grumpy White people, privileged professional sport owners, the wealthy, those who think athletes “just should shut up and play”, and the political shenanigans of our nation’s leaders to stand up for young people; the future; and their largest consumer base/market segment; and most notably, young people of color.

Nike chose the struggle. Struggling people support Nike, so Nike really had no but to show them love back.

You see, no matter how much poor people and people of color struggle all over the globe, some of these people will choose to use their disposable incomes to purchase the Swoosh in pursuit of their hopes and dreams. Via Pop Warner ball = check. High school sports = check. AAU leagues = check. Community football fields, baseball fields, track fields sponsored by Nike = check. Just wanting to look good amongst peers for cool/style points= check. Coaches personal preferences = check. Poor nations = check. Wealthy nations = check. Sports outside of American football and basketball = check.

Political persuasions and personal preferences of the privileged don’t matter to any of these groups. Life goes on. Oppression goes on. Feelings of hopelessness continue. Lack… well it’s ever present. But sports my friends, for some people falling into one or more of these categories, are a saving grace.

The people I’m referring to see Nike apparel as a ray of hope in a sea of darkness and despair.

For many children and their parents, sports are seen as a way out of poverty, a road to a free quality high school and/or college education, or a path to prosperity via professional sports. It is a path that could never be reached without playing sports. For most of these people Nike has always been in the the struggle with them. From Pop Warner ball to the pro uniforms, poor, struggling people see Nike in the struggle with them as they chase American dreams.

Yeah, I know becoming a professional athlete is a long shot, but who am I to kill a child’s dream of becoming prosperous. Nike motivates.

Nike has more street cred than any politician in Congress when it comes to helping kids and their families achieve their dreams.

Nike represents hope. People protesting the Nike-Kaepernick collaboration don’t understand the dreams of the oppressed and downtrodden.

But Nike does.

Nike understands their consumer base consists of primarily middle-class and poor people of color. Black people to be exact. It’s a market segment that buys/consumes more than any other market segment in America. Black people are trendsetters, and corporate America knows this.

Exceptional Black Athleticism Made Nike, Inc., What it is Today

Michael Jordan, Spike Lee, and the fictitious Mars Blackmon put Nike on the map back in the 80’s. Nike clearly understands who butters their bread, and they wouldn’t be the brand they are today without these three Black men.

The majority of Nike’s highest paid athletes with shoe endorsements are African American and activists. The highest paid athletes with shoe endorsement deals by Nike include: Michael Jordan ($110 million), Lebron James ($32 million), Kevin Durant ($25 million), as well as Kobe Bryant ($16 million) and Kyrie Irving ($8 million). So, paying Colin Kaepernick would fit right along with how Nike has done business in the past.

Nothing new to see here folks, definitely nothing worth burning up your good apparel for.

Nike has the most athletes under contract once again with 48 of the top 100 on the Forbes list of highest paid athletes. LeBron James pulls down more than $30 million a year from the $34-billion-in-sales apparel and foot wear giant. Not Brett Farve. Not Tom Brady. And not Peyton Manning.

I’m just saying.

Activism and Athleticism Go Hand-in-Hand

Nike has a long history of partnering Black athletes, including activist athletes. Activism has only become an issue recently because the current American President of the United States has decided to make it one.

Professional Black athleticism and Black activism have always gone hand-in-hand. Some of the greatest Black athletes to ever play professional sports have also been political, civil rights, and social activist to include: Magic Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Bill Russell, Paul Robeson, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Simone Biles, Lebron James, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Olympic gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos, Kevin Garnett, Carmelo Anthony, Jim Brown and the list goes on and on and on.

It’s history whether you like it or not. You can hate them today if you like, you will have to remember the athletic accomplishments in the history books tomorrow.

Life goes on.

Follow the Money

Nike’s footwear net revenue from the North American market was approximately 9.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, and they are the world leader in footwear and apparel.

Nike has a global market, not just an American market, so Americans can be angry at Nike all day and night. Burn your already paid for stuff. Nike will just do what they’ve always done. Nike will make money in other countries, in other market segments, and from other sports besides North American football and basketball. Nike’s world doesn’t just revolve around North American people. You’re not hurting them. Nor does it revolve around people with the most political influence.

If anything, it’s quite the contrary.

So, put the lighter fluid and matches down people before you harm something that someone really cares about.

Nike is Heavy into Collegiate and Professional Sports

Lastly, back in June of 2015, Nike agreed to pay $169 million to outfit the University of Michigan’s varsity athletic teams. It’s paying $12 million up front, nearly $77 million spread over the 11-year contract, and providing over $80 million worth of apparel which began in August 2016. Regardless of educational attainment levels, people will buy their favorite college and professional sports team apparel.

Nike has the college apparel deals on lock down.

And do you know why Nike puts their money into this market segment? Because their key customer base, poor and middle-class households of color, young children of color, and college aged adults keep Nike in business. That hope I talked about earlier, Nike offers kids and their families that. Particularly Black consumers in North America. Blacks consumers are extremely loyal to the Swoosh.

Politicians aren’t loyal to Nike. Rich people aren’t loyal to Nike. Professional sporting team owners aren’t loyal to Nike.

Poor people of color globally, Black people , young people, and college and career aged adults in the North American market segments are loyal to Nike, and they are the ones keeping Nike in business.

Even if you boycott the NFL, Nike and Colin Kaepernick, you need to understand Nike makes plenty of money from a whole host of other sports to include: soccer, cricket, lacrosse, tennis, and so forth. Nike conducts its business on almost every continent on the globe.

Angry birds also need to understand Nike absolutely does not care one bit about the few people upset about their decision to endorse Kaepernick. Their brands are iconic. Their reach is far. Their customer base is loyal, and Nike knows who really keeps them in business. Their unparalleled strategic marketing strategy demonstrates this.

Those angered and protesting are like people bringing a butter knife to a gun fight. It’s cute, it’s honorable, but in the end, you aren’t going to win this fight. So, go ahead, burn your shit you spent your hard-earned money on. Donate to charity if you like.

You’re not hurting anyone except yourself trying to fight this battle.

Just…. get over it.

Marley K., 2018

Sassy writer of unvarnished thoughts on anti-Blackness, racism, politics, Black people. | www.marleyisms.com | www.ko-fi.com/marleyk | Twitter @MarleyK20 |

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