Marshall Fisher, the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS), is instructing his agency to not purchase any Nike products.
“As commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, I will not support vendors who do not support law enforcement and our military,” Fisher told the Associated Press.
Governor Phil Bryant (R) encouraged the boycott, saying he has the right to choose which vendors to buy from and that “it’s not going to be a company that pays an individual who has slandered our fine men and women in law enforcement.”
Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves (R), who is expected to run in 2019 after Gov. Bryant’s second term ends, also joined in.
“By supporting the NFL protests, Nike is making it clear that they would rather stand with those who show contempt for our country over those who defend it,” Reeves said.
Nike’s new “Just Do It” campaign features the face of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, with the text, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick was the first NFL quarterback to kneel during the national anthem as a means of drawing attention to police brutality against African Americans.
“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 the NFL network in an August 2016 interview. “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 — who led the 49ers to a Super Bowl one year and an NFC championship game the next — went unsigned throughout the entire 2017 season, and no team has signed him to their roster as of this writing.
The Mississippi DPS boycott comes on the heels of another boycott by the mayor of Kenner, Louisiana, who instructed the Parks & Recreation Department to not purchase any Nike products. However, unlike the Mississippi officials, he didn’t make any overt references to the Kaepernick ad.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.