Poker Players React to Colin Kaepernick Nike Brand ‘Just Do It’ Contract

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Nike’s choice of controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be the face of its 30th anniversary #JustDoIt campaign has sparked plenty of poker player reaction from both conservatives and social justice warriors.

Nike Colin Kaepernick
Poker players are taking sides when it comes to Nike’s bringing on Colin Kaepernick to be the face of its 30th anniversary #JustDoIt campaign. (Image: Nike)

The marketing ploy was heavily criticized by conservatives, but other poker players came to the multibillion-dollar corporation’s defense.

The footwear and apparel company has plastered Kaepernick’s face on a “Just Do It” ad, undoubtedly aware that the move will garner Nike millions in free publicity by stirring up dust. Kaepernick become a focal point — and something of a thorn in team owners’ and advertisers’ sides — for his decision to kneel when the national anthem played at the start of NFL games, a move that many other mostly African-American players soon followed.

In response to the new campaign, many conservatives on social media have announced plans to boycott Nike, a company they now see as “anti-American” for hiring a quarterback who “hates America and its flag,” according to some of their posts.

Poker Twitter Always Divided

Most on Poker Twitter stayed away from this hot button topic, but a few chimed in. CardsChat member Jacki Burkhart was among those who mocked the alleged boycott.

Tournament grinder David Baker also found humor in this hotly debated political topic.

Poker pro Dan O’Brien agreed with others on Poker Twitter.

Conservative poker player and former actor James Woods is joining in on the boycott, consistent with his political views. He is encouraging his 1.7 million followers to dump Nike stocks and to quit purchasing their products.

Representing for Social Justice

Colin Kaepernick has become the most controversial NFL athlete, even though he hasn’t been on a roster since 2016. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback took a stand — or a kneel, more accurately speaking  — against what he perceives to be racial injustice against African-Americans by police, during what may have been his final NFL season.

The former University of Nevada star chose to protest by kneeling during the national anthem prior to games. That angered many conservatives, who believe taking a knee during The Star-Spangled Banner is disrespectful to the flag and the US military. Liberals and the anti-Trump crowd, on the other hand, disagree. They argue Kaepernick is drawing attention to a serious problem in America.

Kaepernick has become, for some, the face of the racial injustice movement and now the face of Nike. The Oregon-based company’s stock saw a slight 2.2 percent drop Tuesday morning, but nothing significant.

Regardless of any boycott, Nike is an international corporation that doesn’t solely rely on US sales. Global sales represent over 55 percent of its business.

But Can He Still Play?

When the San Francisco 49ers told Colin Kaepernick he would no longer be the starter in 2017, he unsuccessfully attempted to find another team. Over a year later, he’s still searching.

The 2018 NFL season is just days away and, for the second straight year, the 30-year-old didn’t make a roster. Some believe he’s being shut out by NFL owners who don’t want his controversial stand affecting their own viewership and advertising revenues. But others say he just doesn’t have what it takes anymore to play in the NFL.

He was most definitely good enough in 2012, when he led the Niners to the Super Bowl and then a 12-4 record the following season. His game has, however, declined since 2013, and in football, you’re only as good as your last season’s record.

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