Paris (AFP) – The president of Nike’s Jordan Brand insists that the sportswear giant were “absolutely” right to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of their new “Just Do It” campaign.
“One of the great things is that Colin Kaepernick is a great inspirational athlete and he used his position to help further a cause that he believed in,” Larry Miller told AFP in Paris on Thursday.
“I think that for Nike to support that is absolutely what Nike should do and so we are going to continue to look for ways to support our athletes.”
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick has turned into an activist against police violence and was effectively blacklisted by the NFL after kneeling during the US national anthem in 2016 in solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Nike’s new advertising campaign featuring Kaepernick — who has been castigated by US President Donald Trump and other American conservatives over his kneeling protests — prompted immediate calls to boycott the sporting brand.
“It was a risk, but that is what makes me proud to be a part of Nike because Nike was willing to take that risk to support an athlete who was making a statement he believed in, and we wanted to make sure he had an opportunity to voice that opinion,” added Miller.
He was speaking at an event to mark the announcement by French footballing giants Paris Saint-Germain of a new three-year deal with Jordan Brand, which was founded by the NBA icon Michael Jordan and had a turnover of some $2.75 billion in 2016.
Nike have been PSG’s kit manufacturer for more than 30 years, but the deal means Jordan Brand’s “Jumpman” logo will appear on the club’s home and away kits in the Champions League. It is the first time that the brand has moved into football.