Nike sold out of its new Colin Kaepernick shirts just hours after they went on sale, despite conservative backlash to the company's decision to make the free agent NFL quarterback the face of its new ad campaign, The Hill reports.
The $50 shirt features the Nike swoosh with Kaepernick's name on the back. "Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything,” it says on the sleeve, echoing the ad campaign's message.
The news comes as Nike, Kaepernick, and the NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial injustice has become a major issue for President Donald Trump and Republicans.
"Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts," Trump tweeted shortly after the Kaepernick ad campaign was announced.
Nike stock initially fell more than 3 percent after the deal was announced before shares climbed to the company's all-time high last month.
Trump calls Kaepernick-Nike deal “terrible”: The president said he thinks “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. There’s no reason for it.”
The conservative news outlet Daily Caller compared Nike giving Kaepernick an ad deal to giving a similar deal to former NFL player Rae Carruth, who served nearly 20 years in jail after he was convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend.
Nike backs Kaep, but also Republicans: The Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson points out that despite the GOP's outrage over the deal, the company's founder is backing a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Oregon.
“Knight has directly given the campaign of Oregon gubernatorial candidate Knute Buehler $2.5 million dollars,” Dickinson reported. “Knight has also given $1 million to the Republican Governors’ Association, which steered nearly that amount into Buehler’s campaign.”
As TrigTent reported earlier this month, Knight and Nike employees have donated more to Republican campaigns than Democratic ones.