Sports brand Adidas would be happy to strike an endorsement deal with former footballer Colin Kaepernick — but if, and only if he’s signed to an NFL team this season.
Mark King, president of the athletic apparel and shoe company’s North America division, said in statement that Adidas doesn’t want to give the false impression that it is “taking advantage of this noise or interest” Kaepernick has generated with his on-field protests.
The former San Francisco 49er sparked backlash in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the U.S. Critics now believe he is being blackballed by the NFL, as he remains unsigned by a league team for more than a year. Just last week, reports swirled that a scheduled practice/workout with the Seattle Seahawks was “postponed” after Kaepernick refused to end his protest.
“If he signs on a team, we would definitely want to sign him,” King said Friday during Arizona State University’ Global Sport Summit.
He went on to say Adidas “loves athletes that have a platform to make the world a better place … If they are an activist, in a way that brings attention to something that moves the world forward, even if there’s controversy at that moment, we’re really interested in those athletes because I think it represents the world today.”
With this logic, it remains unclear why the brand is waiting for Kaepernick to be signed by an NFL team — especially considering that fact that it has dozens of other endorsers who aren’t athletes but have huge platforms and large fan followings.
Kaepernick has largely remained out of the spotlight since his departure form the 49ers, however, except for when it came to news of his activism. Even still, his popularity as a celebrity social activist has soared, affording him even more exposure.
All this seems to be of no consolation to Adidas though.
“We’re not in the business of activism, we’re in the business of sport, ” King said. “But allowing our athletes to tell their story, it’s really important to us.”
Adidas should sign @Kaepernick7 regardless of an NFL deal. They’re doing deals with all these other “influencers” how many have more influence than him.
— Martellus Bennett (@MartysaurusRex) April 17, 2018
Good morning 2 every1 except Adidas, who "wants to sign Colin Kaepernick to an endorsement deal" if he can find a team 2 sign him. Mark King, the president of Adidas's North American division added, "Adidas isn't in the business of activism." Wait, what?!#TuesdayMorning#KAG pic.twitter.com/cMyiMYNsw3
— Deplorable Pray For Rush Coal Peep ⭐⭐⭐ (@wvufanagent99) April 17, 2018