Yesterday Nike made the disastrous decision to pay Colin Kaepernick millions of dollars a year to be a spokesperson for the brand.
Hey @nike “sacrificing everything” to “believe in something” is dying while serving your country to defend all our freedoms. It isn’t getting paid millions to star in your advertising campaign. Pathetic. pic.twitter.com/4TDv5IQJQd
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) September 3, 2018
It was the latest example of a company deciding to embrace Woke Sports as a marketing mantra.
That’s despite the fact that ESPN and the NFL have already shown us that mixing sports and politics has a disastrous impact for sports companies that decide to do so. Ratings for both the ESPN and the NFL have plummeted as both have become embroiled in political controversies.
Politics, put simply, is bad for the business of sports.
This morning the stock market punished the company for alienating many of its core consumers, dropping Nike’s stock by over $3 a share and shaving over $4.5 billion off the company’s market cap.
I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, but I do buy sneakers (and apparel) not just for myself but also, more importantly, for my three growing boys. Given Nike’s decision to pay millions of dollars to Colin Kaepernick, I will not spend a dollar on Nike products. Will Nike be fine without my hundreds of dollars in shoes and apparel purchases? Certainly. Are there some people who will buy more Nike shoes and apparel because of the Kaepernick deal? Certainly.
But is this decision likely to cost Nike much more than it gains the company? I believe so. In fact, I think this is likely to be the single most disastrous marketing decision in the history of sports. I think it will end up costing Nike billions of dollars in sales.
Worst of all, it’s the exact wrong message for a company to be sending to American consumers in these polarized times. I don’t want to think about politics when I buy shoes or jerseys for my kids. I don’t want every purchasing decision in my household to be a referendum on whether I agree or disagree with a company’s politics. But that’s what Nike is forcing me to do.
Maybe I have an antiquated notion here, but I believe a company should endeavor to serve every single consumer regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, religion or politics.
Michael Jordan was right when he refused to get drawn into politics during his sports career. There’s a reason why Jordan still sold more tennis shoes in 2016 than every current NBA player combined. It’s because Republicans really do buy sneakers too and because alienating your consumer is, wait for it, an awful business strategy.
I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on Nike products over the year.
But I won’t be doing it anymore.
Nike — and Colin Kaepernick — has the right to their speech, and I have the right to respond with my own speech. That’s the great thing about this country, we each get to have our voices heard.
This is mine.
We should be making America more like sports and not making sports more like America.
Unfortunately, with this Nike decision, we’re doing the exact opposite.
Sports were great precisely because politics weren’t involved. Thanks to decisions like Nike’s sports have become politics, the two are inextricably intertwined.