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Nike Falls as Critics Fume on Social Media Over Kaepernick Deal


(Bloomberg) -- The backlash started just hours after Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who sparked controversy for kneeling during the national anthem, tweeted that he's starring in Nike Inc.'s iconic "Just Do It" ad campaign.

Following the announcement, the hashtags #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt started trending on Twitter and shares starting falling. Some angry consumers even posted photos and videos of themselves burning their Nike shoes and other gear to protest the company using the divisive figure in its 30th anniversary ad campaign.

Nike shares slipped 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. They had climbed 31 percent this year through Friday's close.

Nike Falls as Critics Fume on Social Media Over Kaepernick Deal

The fallout was no surprise but Nike may be betting that the upside of a Kaepernick endorsement is worth angering conservative Americans and supporters of President Donald Trump. Kaepernick -- who sparked a movement among professional athletes when he began taking a knee in 2016 during the anthem to protest police brutality against African Americans -- is embroiled in a lawsuit against the National Football League and accuses it of blacklisting him.

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Still, with the former 49er one of the most popular football players in the U.S. the shoe giant is likely counting on passions to cool.


â?? Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018

"The long-term relationship and a contract that benefits both parties over the next 10 years will likely outweigh any current controversy," said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Chen Grazutis.

Kaepernick tweeted an image from the campaign with the caption, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Nike is in a fierce battle with rival Adidas AG to sign star athletes. The combined marketing spending of the two companies may reach as much as $10 billion by fiscal 2020.