Liberty University Considers Dropping Nike over Kaepernick Ad

Colin Kaepernick
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Liberty University may be in the market for a new uniform sponsor, after Nike decided to feature Colin Kaepernick as the face of their new ad campaign.

According to WSET, “President Jerry Falwell Jr. says the school wants to find a supplier that supports veterans, the U.S. flag, American values and law enforcement.”

That new supplier will also have to provide jerseys, equipment, and apparel. Since Nike currently covers all those services under their contract with Liberty.

Nike sparked a wave of controversy this week, after they announced that Kaepernick would be the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign:

Kaepernick is best known for starting the anthem protest movement in the preseason of 2016. The former 49er first sat, then knelt during the playing of the anthem. Soon after, the protest movement caught fire as dozens of players across the league began either kneeling or raising their fists in protest.

Kaepernick walked away from his contract with San Francisco at the end of the 2016 season, but was not signed by another club. Earlier this year Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, alleging that the league’s owners conspired to keep him out of the league due to his anthem protests.

According to WSET:

The NFL and Nike extended their partnership in March to run through 2028. Nike provides all NFL teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that bears the swoosh logo, as well as many college teams like Liberty University.

Falwell said they are exploring the situation and that if Nike believes law enforcement is unfair and biased, they will look around — but will honor any contract that is in tact.

According to Liberty’s website, the contract was extended to 2024 in 2017 for Nike to provide apparel and equipment for all 20 of the university’s athletic programs.

Falwell also said that if it’s a publicity stunt, that’s different and he understands how marketing works, but he wants Nike to convince him that it is not proactively attacking law enforcement officers and the military.

The NFL is heading into its third year of the NFL anthem controversy. Despite a rule change and multiple meetings with the NFL Players Association, the league has failed to produce a policy that includes enforcement provisions.

Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn

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