Since Nike released its divisive Colin Kaepernick ad campaign this week, the backlash has been furious.
Pretty bold of Nike to mount the high horse, considering its dark history of using sweatshop labor, documented by news outlets like Business Insider.
Nike shares also plummeted on Tuesday as the controversy spread.
Besides the parodies that sprang from Nike’s jarring, easily reproducible ad (like these from the sports site 12Up), the outrage has also inspired Nike’s critics to suggest their own, more serious versions that they can agree with. Some have been suggesting to Nike that the company make an ad with real heroes, like military veterans.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., took to Instagram to proclaim his respect for his father — and give Nike a new idea.
Trump Jr. posted a black and white close-up of his father, with the Nike theme, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” over the president’s face.
View this post on Instagram
As of Thursday afternoon, the post had gathered more than 125,000 “likes.”
The president himself had a different response. Nike, he told The Daily Caller in an interview on Tuesday, had miscalculated badly.
“I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it, but I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent,” he said. “There’s no reason for it.”
At the same time, he said, the incident just highlighted how the United States afforded Kaepernick and Nike the freedom to express their views.
“In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do,” he said. “But I personally am on a different side of it.”
In a Twitter post Wednesday, though, he pointed out the price Nike is paying.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” he wrote.
“I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”
Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
Unlike Nike and Kaepernick, the Trumps stand for the anthem and what it represents.
Maybe other corporations will take the hint that Americans appreciate actual heroes, not those who rebel for pay.