September 26, 2017
September 26, 2017
NFL sponsor, Nike Inc., released a statement Monday in response to Trump’s Friday comments directed at the NFL. Nike took the lead among three NFL sponsors, including Ford and Hyundai, in issuing a definitive statement fully siding with players’ rights to protest:
“Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issue that are of great importance to our society.” -Nike, Inc.
Nike’s statement appears to be in support of NFL players in Sunday’s games, many of whom took to one knee during the customary playing of the national anthem.
Nike sports apparel competitor Under Armor originally tweeted that Under Armor “stands by our Athletes for free speech, expression and a unified America.”
Then the company quickly changed their tweet to “UnderArmour stands for the flag and by our Athletes for free speech, expression and a unified America.”
Under Armor’s statement basically embraces all sides, everyone and everything. Avoiding upsetting your customers divided on both sides of this contentious issues seems to be their strategy.
Fans in favor of and against the protests are calling for a total boycott. Hashtags #BoycottNFLSponsors and #PunchThemInTheWallet are circulating on both pro-Trump and pro-player social media.
The shot heard round the NFL first began when Pres. Donald Trump spoke at a Huntsville, Alabama campaign rally Friday night. Towards the end of his speech he took on the NFL and athletes who refuse to stand during the national anthem as a demonstration toward what they see as racial injustice and racially motivated police brutality.
Among his remarks, Trump stated, ““Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”
NFL sponsorship is a huge business and sponsors have shown a reluctance to enter the recent political fray. Few have issued cautious statements including Under Armour, Ford, Nike, Hyundai and Anheuser-Busch InBev. Yahoo Finance reports that more than $1.25 billion of the NFL’s nearly $14 billion in revenue last year came from official league sponsors.
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