The second Colin Kaepernick posted the announcement revealing that Nike chose him to be the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, the nation was expecting Donald Trump to blast out his response on Twitter. Instead, over the next 24 hours the president was uncharacteristically quiet on his favorite social media platform. He finally weighed in on the hot topic in an interview Tuesday afternoon with The Daily Caller.
Monday, Kaepernick, who started the national anthem protests in preseason 2016 while riding the bench for the San Francisco 49ers, tweeted out his big announcement, which declared that you must “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
One thing Kaepernick didn’t “sacrifice” was the potential to make a lot of money. Though he’s reportedly had a deal with Nike since 2011, amid other shoe companies expressing interest in the quarterback-turned-activist, Nike reportedly negotiated a new “star” deal with Kaepernick that will include his own clothing line and royalties.
Speaking with The Daily Caller Tuesday, Trump said that while he thinks Nike has just sent a “terrible message,” this is actually a powerful demonstration of the freedoms offered by the United States.
“I think it’s a terrible message. Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent,” said Trump, a reference to Niketown New York.
“But I think 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,” he said.
“As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way — I mean, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”
The day after Nike announced the deal with the polarizing athlete, Bloomberg reported that the company’s shares fell “as much as 3.9 percent to $79 as of 9:31 a.m. Tuesday in New York — the biggest intraday slide in five months.”
Kaepernick ignited the anthem protests during the 2016 preseason after reporters noticed that he refused to stand to honor the flag. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers following another disappointing 2016 season, which he began on the bench but was eventually named starter after an injury to Blaine Gabbert. Despite massive public pressure from supporters and some sports outlets, including ESPN, no NFL team signed Kaepernick. The Seattle Seahawks were reportedly interested but went cold because he allegedly wouldn’t assure them he would stand for the anthem. Kaepernick has filed a lawsuit against the league for alleged “collusion” among the teams to keep him out over his unpopular protests.