The Kaepernick Effect: Evaluating Nike’s Future Value

Colin Kaepernick’s bombshell deal with Nike has once again thrust him into the center of racial, political, cultural and marketing controversy as some folks are dancing in the streets like when the O.J. Simpson Verdict hit. Others are hypocritically burning Nike apparel in a feeble attempt to discredit the partnership between Kaepernick and the sports branding giant.

Jemele Hill on Twitter

laughs in hypocrisy at all the people who were all good with Nike when the company was accused of abusing kids in sweatshops, but are sooooooooo outraged at the Colin Kaepernick campaign::

Its a partnership that also forces a bond of some kind, between Kaepernick and the NFL. A quiet understanding that they are on the same team now. This vibe is much different than his adversarial relationship with the League and its owners. Owners may not be thrilled with the latest turn of events, but the League has officially chosen sides in the Kaepernick saga as it tries to separate from any legal ramifications regarding the outcome of Kaepernick’s collusion trial.

Its a messy relationship that has gotten more complicated. Nike has a partnership with the NFL that will run through 2028, with the sports brand providing teams with game-day unis and apparel. Kaepernick has declared legal war on the NFL, claiming team owners have colluded to keep him out of the league since his 2017 free agency.

Right on cue, President Donald Trump, a major instigator in the Colin Kaepernick player protest drama, offered his two cents on Tuesday, calling  Nike’s new ad campaign a “terrible message.”.

Darren Rovell on Twitter

BREAKING: Nike had been paying Colin Kaepernick all along, waiting for the right moment. That moment is now, as he becomes the face of the company’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign.

Never put it past the President to stir the pot.

“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,” Trump told the Daily Caller, a conservative political website, “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 NFL, who reportedly just found out about Kaepernicks deal on Monday, released a statement in support of players expressing their beliefs. The tone is considerably different from 2017 when Roger Goodellwent on record to say We believe that everyone should stand for the anthem.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The NFL has released a statement on social justice, saying the issues that Colin Kaepernick and others have raised deserve attention and action.

NIKE hasnt released the figures, but according to reports, Kaepernicks deal is probably in the upper millions per year.

If you said that he was going to get seven figures, I wouldnt be surprised,  Joe Linta, the president of JL Sports, an agency that represents NFL athletes, told

It probably wont equal the five-year, $50 million contract that tennis legend Serena Williams inked with Nike in 2003. It could, however, rival NY Giants superstar Odell Beckhams contract. Last year, the blonde bombshell secured the largest deal ever with NIKE for a football star, a five-year contract that would bring in about $5 million a year.

According to Jennifer Calfas of Time, “Beckhams contract perhaps sets the bar for what Kaepernicks could be worth.”

Williams and Beckham Jr. are both a part of Nikes new ad campaign. There have been reports that since announcing the deal, Nike Inc.s stock slipped about 3 percent Tuesday in midday trading, but the deal with Kaepernick will likely work in Nikes favor, Brian Nagel, a senior analyst at Oppenheimer, told Bloomberg Tuesday. Kaepernicks deal has already generated the company more than $43 million in media exposure, according to Apex Marketing Group.

The unveiling of the ad campaign also led to a massive day on social media for Nike on Monday with more than 1.3 million tweets referenced Nike, and it was the No. 1 trend on Twitter for more than seven hours on Labor Day.

Kaepernick is different. Hes being marketed for his political stance and social activism and not just his athletic ability.  After two years of haters dissing Kaep and labeling him a communist and being disrespectful to the country, NIKE has admitted that Kaepernick’s bravery has resonated, especially with the younger generation — the demographic that drives NIKEs global machine in the first place.

Kevin Donahue on Twitter

Credit to Nike being courageous in using Kap in a campaign, but also he was a back-up QB and had the best selling jersey in the NFL heading into the 2016 season, so the signs were there for any company paying attention.

I guess the argument (from the NFL) is that hes bad for business, says Alexa Stabler, who runs Stabler Sports agency and is the daughter of NFL star and Hall of Famer Ken Stabler. But Nike seems to disagree if theyre going to bill this as a top of the line deal and presumably that means a lot of money.

Yup, Kaep endured some short-sighted abuse and turned it into long bread. Even Kaepernick’s worst critic couldn’t knock the blackballed NFL quarterbacks capitalistic mindstate and hustle in securing the bag with NIKE.

Trump noted, “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.”

Naturally, other African-American icons involved in the Just Do It campaign support Kaepernick’s come up.

“He’s done a lot for the African-American community, and it’s cost him a lot. It’s sad,” Serena Williams said after her US Open win. “But he continues to do the best that he can to support.

gabe collins-green on Twitter

Kaepernick donated $1,000,000 of his own, plus jersey sales from 2016 (his last NFL season), to oppressed communities to empower them all while receiving zero money from an NFL contract. i love JJ Watt & what he’s done shouldn’t go unnoticed. but stop downplaying Kaep’s impact.

“Having a huge company back him, you know, could be a controversial reason for this company, but they’re not afraid. I feel like that was a really powerful statement to a lot of other companies.”

King James, who signed a lifetime deal with Nike in 2015, showed loved on Tuesday night.

“I stand for anybody that believes in change. I stand for anybody that believes in a positive attitude,” James said while at a Nike fashion show and awards ceremony in New York. “I stand with Nike, every day, all day.”

Kaepernick has joined some exclusive company, but he’s unique in that he found a way to monetize and market his struggles and his controversial political beliefs and social activism. NIKE has proved that politics has a place in sports and is definitely for sale if the right hero with the right message comes along.

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