A Colorado sporting goods store owner vowed to boycott Nike over its viral ad campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Now, he’s going out of business.
Stephen Martin, the owner of Prime Time Sports in Colorado Springs, Colorado, can no longer afford the lease on his retail space. Martin told local media that he decided to sell his Nike apparel at a deep discount following the ad, in which Kaepernick is shown with the caption “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Martin then refused to carry any Nike gear after liquidating all the Nike products in his store. He also reportedly cancelled a 2016 autograph session with Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, due to Marshall’s decision to kneel during the national anthem as a way of protesting police brutality in solidarity with Kaepernick.
“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” Martin told NBC affiliate KOAA.
"It's like a Christmas sale in here," says Stephen Martin, owner of Prime Time Sports. He's selling all #Nike gear at 50 percent off, which he says covers the price he paid for it, in protest of the company's new ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick. More tonight on @KOAA pic.twitter.com/B6zaLiqbHi
— Sam Kraemer (@SamKraemerTV) September 5, 2018
Because Nike is often the only manufacturer of certain popular sporting goods, Martin didn’t have many options in terms of inventory.
“Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys,” Martin said.
Following his decision to boycott Nike, Martin put a sign in the front window of his store with photos of members of the military, interpreting Kaepernick’s protest as anti-military in nature despite numerous veterans endorsing Kaepernick’s First Amendment rights.
“Mr. Kaepernick, Have your eyes seen or yours (sic) ears heard what these photos are saying that have given you the freedom to express yourself in our United States of America … ?” The sign read.
Nike boycotts proliferated after the viral Nike ad, even prompting the Mississippi Department of Public Safety to stop purchasing Nike products. However, Nike’s sales skyrocketed by as much as 31 percent after the ad, suggesting the boycotts had little effect.
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.