A police officer’s widow posted an open letter to Nike on her Facebook page slamming the company’s latest ad campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, and her response has since gone viral.
Sherry Graham-Potter, an Arizona woman whose late husband, Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Graham, died in the line of duty in 2005, penned an emotional letter to the company speaking of how she wore a Nike cap while she grieved for her husband, and how that symbolized her husband’s “strength and sacrifice.”
But her praise for the company’s brand ended there. She then criticized Nike for using Kaepernick, who has openly shown “contempt for law enforcement,” as a spokesperson for an ad about sacrificing everything.
The letter read, in part:
This man, whose contempt for law enforcement fits him like a…sock, has promoted an agenda that has been proven false time and time again, in study after study. But facts don’t seem to matter anymore. This man has thrown his support behind divisive anti-police groups, and donated money directly to a fugitive from justice who escaped prison after killing a police officer. I question the judgement of anyone who would put someone this controversial and divisive at the head of an advertising campaign, but it isn’t my company to run.
I don’t know if I’ll have the heart to ever get rid of this cap, but I will tell you this, I’ll never purchase another Nike product as long as I live. You got this one wrong Nike, terribly, terribly wrong.
Graham-Potter’s response to the Nike ad touched so many people on social media, it had been shared nearly 500,000 times on Facebook as of Saturday evening.
The Nike ad, which Kaepernick narrates, features stories from athletes who overcame illness or disabilities.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” Kaepernick says in the ad.
But Nike began receiving lots of criticism over how its ad used Kaepernick, who made his claim to fame in August 2016 by kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality, to promote a message about “sacrificing everything.”
One Gold Star mother, whose Marine son died in the line of duty, spoke out against the company for belittling the word “sacrifice” by featuring an anti-police former NFL player as its spokesperson.
Fans, celebrities, and law enforcement organizations also criticized Nike’s choice of spokesperson for the ad campaign.
Fans, many of whom believe Kaepernick disrespected Americans by refusing to honor the flag, began burning their Nike gear to protest the company’s decision to use the former NFL player as a spokesperson for the brand.
Celebrities and other organizations launched boycotts of the brand, includingJames Woods singer John Rich and the National Police Organization. Veteran actor James Woods even decided to dump his Nike stock out of protest.
The backlash to the campaign featuring Kaepernick hit Nike right in their purse-strings when shares of Nike stock tumbled by three percent on Tuesday. President Trump even tweeted Wednesday that the company was getting “absolutely killed” because of the boycotts.