According to a new report, Nike fully understood the beehive it would stir by making Colin Kaepernick the face of its “Just Do It” campaign, but decided to do it anyway because the company’s fan base is “significantly urban.”
According to TMZ the move to put national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick on its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign was a “shrewd business move,” which was also “part cultural.”
A source inside Nike told TMZ that the company fully understood millions of Americans would be upset with the choice of putting Kaepernick on the ad. However, the company reckoned that since most of its customer base is black, it would be a financial benefit in the long run.
The move to sign Kaepernick to the ad was also a move away from the NFL as a corporate entity and toward individual athletes who are increasingly turning into social justice warriors.
The signal Nike reportedly hopes to send to young, up-and-coming athletes is that Nike is on their side, not the side of the corporations they may eventually work for.
“Our sources say Nike has made a calculated decision to become ‘a partner in social change,'” TMZ reported.
Just ahead of the debut of the Kaepernick ad, a recent poll noted a wide gulf between blacks and whites over the now ubiquitous protests during the national anthem at NFL games.
The recent poll by NBC found that far more blacks approved of the anthem protests than whites: 70 percent of black respondents say protesting is the right thing to do, while 28 percent say no. Meanwhile, 58 percent of whites say the protests are not appropriate, while 38 percent say they are.
With numbers like this, it would be unsurprising that an “urban” customer base could find Colin Kaepernick to be an appealing spokesman.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.