NEW YORK — President Trump is weighing in on Nike's new ad campaign, saying in an interview with The Daily Caller that the deal with Colin Kaepernick sends "a terrible message." But in the polarizing debate over NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem, Nike has made its bet.
The company announced Kaepernick is one of the faces of its 30th anniversary, two seasons after he started kneeling during the anthem to bring attention to racial injustice.
"What Nike did is a game changer," said Mark Williams, a sports marketer.
He thinks Nike is playing the long game by appealing to its core customers — those who are under 35 and ethnically diverse.
"I think that Nike knows exactly what they're doing," Williams said. "They look at things globally and how they can change things culturally and as a society."
Nike recently signed a 10-year extension to be one of the NFL's official uniform sponsors. While the company is feeling the social media backlash, the company has earned $43 million worth of media exposure in the last 24 hours, according to one estimate.
"The people that burned their shoes today might be buying a new pair tomorrow," said Simeon Siegel, a retail analyst.
Late Tuesday, the NFL said: "The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action."