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The new campaign was unveiled Monday. The first ad featured a close-up of Kaepernick’s face with the words: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The president — who has made the topic of pro athletes protesting during the National Anthem one of his main talking points — laid into Nike for the decision.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” Trump tweeted.
In the past, Trump has attacked players who take a knee during the anthem, calling them a “son of a bitch” and demanding they be fired.
The ad has drawn both strong support for the movement and strong condemnation.
The NFL on Tuesday sided with Nike on the campaign.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vp communications and public affairs, said in a statement. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Kaepernick is currently suing the NFL, accusing the 32 owners of collusion to keep him off a team after he began kneeling during the National Anthem.
Kaepernick has been a Nike athlete since 2011, but he has not played on an NFL team since 2016.
The quarterback began kneeling during the National Anthem to protest African-American inequality in America. Not long after, other pro football players also started to take a knee, not against the American flag itself, but against the treatment of black men and women, specifically at the hands of police officers.
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