Donald Trump: Nike’s Colin Kaepernick advert sends ‘terrible message’

US president responds to the new ‘Just Do It’ campaign

Donald Trump NFL
Donald Trump hosted the New England Patriots, winners of the 2017 Super Bowl, at the White House
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Donald Trump says that Nike, the US sportswear giant, has sent out a “terrible message” by using Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, as the face of its new “Just Do It” advertising campaign.

Kaepernick started a movement in 2016 where he protested against police brutality and racial injustice by sitting and “taking a knee” during the US national anthem.

The US president has been a vocal critic of Kaepernick, accusing the now unemployed American footballer and other NFL players of disrespecting the flag when kneeling during The Star-Spangled Banner.

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He tweeted in September last year: “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”

Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan is celebrating its 30th anniversary and Kaepernick features in one advert with the caption: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

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Speaking to The Daily Caller, Trump said: “I think it’s a terrible message. Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent.

“I think it’s a... message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.”

But the president did concede that Nike has the freedom to make its own business decisions. He said: “As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement... 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.”

Since the launch of the campaign, critics of the sportswear brand have started burning and destroying trainers and other items made by Nike.

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