An Alabama pastor upset over Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign featuring former footballer Colin Kaepernick took a pair of scissors to his Nike gear in a grand gesture decrying the company from the pulpit Sunday.
“I ain’t using that no more,” Rev. Mack Morris said in his sermon, cutting up a Nike headband and wristband. “I’ve bought my last pair of Nike shoes.”
Morris, a senior pastor at Woodbridge Baptist Church in Mobile, joined the ranks of mostl white Americans incensed over Nike’s latest ad campaign centered around Kaepernick, who sparked controversy when he became the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
According to AL.com, Morris was angry that Nike made a deal with Kaepernick to launch the new ad.
“He’s inked a contract with Nike,” the pastor opined. “No one knows or is telling how many multi-million dollars that is going to be, simply because he won’t stand when the national anthem is sung.”
Morris added, “America may not be the best country in the world, and we have a lot of faults, but I tell you what, a lot of folks died for the sake of what the flag represents.” Those crowding the sanctuary erupted in applause, according to the newspaper, many standing to their feet.
There’s been more joy than outrage over the company’s new ad campaign, however. For one, reports showed that Nike’s online sales rose a whopping 31 percent over Labor Day weekend after the Kaepernick ad aired during the NFL season opener. Aaron Goldman, a chief marketing officer for 4C, told MarketWatch it was clear Nike had done its homework.
“They’re the ones [Nike has] decided will be its future customers, so, if others are getting upset, [the company] has planned for that, and it doesn’t care,” Goldman said.
Some folks have still found a reason to be outraged — including Morris.
“I know there are a lot of people, in general, who are very upset,” he said in an interview with AL.com. “I know there are a number of high schools and colleges who are dropping Nike. Some folks are tied into long-term contracts, so I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this. It’s a groundswell. I think Nike, personally, made a calculated decision.”
The pastor’s fiery sermon is the latest in a recent spate of public officials speaking out against Nike for using Kaepernick as the face of its campaign. Last week, Missouri’s College of the Ozarks ditched its old Nike uniforms for ones that don’t display the company’s logo. Meanwhile, in Louisiana, Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn issued a memo last week banning the city’s recreation department and booster clubs from purchasing any more Nike products. Zahn rescinded the order Wednesday.
All this comes amid viral videos of outraged fans setting fire to their Nike gear for the entire world to see.
Despite the furor, Nike has stuck to its guns in defending Kaepernick in his fight for racial and social equality.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” the ex-49ers quarterback says in the ad. “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good. Stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.”
Watch more in the clip below.