On Monday, Nike picked Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice, as a new face of its iconic "Just Do It" campaign, which turns 30 this year.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback rushed to post a black-and-white close-up of himself featuring the quote, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
The announcement has prompted many Nike customers to express their outrage by sacrificing their branded gear. Social media outlets have been flooded with calls to boycott the sportswear giant, while some went so far as to burn and cut their Nike clothes and sneakers.
Seriously, Nike? Why pick the most unAmerican person to represent your brand? Shame on you. #BoycottNike— Drops-a-lot (@hilton904) 3 сентября 2018 г.
Well @Nike, you’ve lost my business forever. Promoting @Kaepernick7 in your ads is despicable — he’s unpatriotic & anti police, the ppl who keep our country free and safe! #BoycottNike #FreedomIsntFree— EC (@NVEileen) 4 сентября 2018 г.
But even amid social turbulence, there's always time to crack a joke.
Kaepernick sparked a national debate when he took a knee while the anthem was played before games during the NFL's 2016 season. He later explained that his move was meant to draw attention to shooting deaths of African-Americans by police and other issues.
Some other players soon jumped onboard with Kaepernick, drawing the condemnation of football fans and President Trump in person, encouraging NFL owners to fire anthem protesters.
In May, the NFL adopted a fresh national anthem policy requiring all players to stand during the anthem or remain in the locker room until the ceremony was over.