John Rich Slams Nike on Twitter Over New Colin Kaepernick Ad Campaign
According to John Rich, Nike has lost the Big & Rich member as a customer. The country singer tore into the athletic brand on Twitter late Monday (Sept. 3), after Nike unveiled its 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
On Monday, Nike announced that Kaepernick will be the face of its new "Just Do It" campaign. "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything," reads one piece of new Nike advertising. Formerly a quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality in the U.S. during the 2016-2017 NFL season. He became a free agent in March of 2017 has not been picked up by a team since then; he is currently suing the NFL for collusion, alleging that the league's teams are keeping him from playing because of his protests.
While some social media users have tweeted their support of Kaepernick and Nike's decision to use him in their new campaign, the new ads have others on social media calling for a boycott of the company. Rich falls into the latter camp: On Monday evening, he began by tweeting, "Hey Nike, I guess you made @Kaepernick7 your new 'face' of the brand because you love the way his socks look with your shoes? Reebok here we come." Rich's tweet is accompanied by a photo of Kaepernick's now-infamous socks featuring pigs wearing police uniforms.
Throughout a series of tweets, Rich continued to express his anti-Nike sentiments, even tweeting out a photo of what he says is Big & Rich's sound person -- a former Marine, according to Rich -- showing how he cut the Nike "swoosh" logo off of his socks in protest.
"Get ready Nike," Rich writes. "Multiply that by millions."
During his time on Twitter, Rich also responded to a few users who were questioning his protests of Nike. "I respect your inalienable right to protest as guaranteed by the [First Amendement]. Why can’t you disagree but still respect the same rights of others? Asking as a fan," writes on Twitter follower. Rich responds, "When you compare police to PIGS, this ends the discussion for me. If you don't find a problem with that, then feel free to unfollow me. The police JUST SHOWED UP at our concert to protect and serve, I'll ask them what they think and get back to you ..."
On Tuesday (Sept. 5), Rich added another statement on Twitter: "I support every American's right to protest whatever they want. However, if you endorse someone who wears #PIGSOCKS that's where you lose me. If @Nike wants their 'swoosh' to be associated with calling our police 'Pigs' then so be it. I have a right to not buy their products."
"Our police saved lives at the Las Vegas shooting where we played, and the heroism they displayed is second to none," Rich adds to the Tennessean in a statement. "We appreciate the job they are willing to do all day, every day to protect all of us. They are the farthest thing from pigs."
Readers can see Rich's complete set of anti-Nike tweets below.