The public safety commissioner of Mississippi announced on Saturday that state officers will discontinue purchasing Nike merchandise because of the company’s new advertisement campaign.
The athletic apparel company’s new ad featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick continues to draw criticism nationally, and Commissioner Marshall Fisher added his voice to the chorus of those on the right who say Nike’s alliance with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback is unpatriotic.
“As commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, I will not support vendors who do not support law enforcement and our military,” Fisher stated to the Associated Press.
Lieutenant Gov. Tate Reeves seconded the commissioner’s decision and disagreed with Nike’s choice to use Kaepernick as the face of their “Just Do It” ad.
“By supporting the NFL protests, Nike is making it clear that they would rather stand with those who show contempt for our country over those who defend it,” said Reeves.
However, Fisher is facing backlash from Democratic state officials and the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union chapter.
“These are the people that are representing all Mississippians,” the ACLU stated on Twitter Saturday morning. “These are the people that are creating policy that impact all of our lives. These are the people that took an oath to uphold the Constitution. Yet they refuse to understand what equality, justice, and accountability means. This petty decision is just another show of racism, discrimination, stupidity, inequity, and divisive politics.”
The state’s department of public safety purchased Nike apparel and uniforms for their police officers in the past according to Warren Strain, the department’s spokesman.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant agreed with Fisher’s decision and said the commissioner has every right to decide which vendors to do business with. Bryant added that “it’s not going to be a company that pays an individual who has slandered our fine men and women in law enforcement.”
Nike’s controversial ad supporting Kaepernick’s NFL protests has drawn criticism from prominent politicians ranging as high as, President Trump who tweeted, “What was Nike thinking?”
However, Nike’s sales are at an all-time high and its stock price has surged over 30 percent since the airing of the ad on Sept. 5.