College of the Ozarks athletics teams will no longer dress in Nike gear in response to the company’s new advertising campaign.
The Missouri college, an NAIA sports school, announced that it plans to get rid of all Nike uniforms that contain the swoosh logo and will no longer stand behind the company. The college’s statement followed after the airing of Nike’s ad featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said in a statement. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”
College of the Ozarks, which is also a private Christian school, made a provision to their competition contract in October 2017. The college said they would not compete with an opposing team that kneels during the national anthem.
The college’s decision to change their stipulations stemmed from the controversy of Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest social injustice. The new Nike ad campaign that features the football player aired Thursday night during the U.S. Open tennis tournament and borrowed from the former quarterback’s theme of shining light on police brutality and racial injustice.
College of the Ozarks Vice President of Patriotic Activities Marci Linson stated, “Nike is free to campaign as it sees fit, as the College is free, and honor-bound by its mission and goals, to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed.”