Missouri college just says no to Nike over Kaepernick ad
- College of the Ozarks announced Wednesday that it will remove all Nike athletic uniforms after the company unveiled its new Colin Kaepernick ad campaign
- College President Jerry Davis said that Nike executives are "promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America" by giving a platform to Kaepernick, who famously knelt during the national anthem
A Missouri college has dropped Nike, an athletic apparel provider, just days after the company unveiled its new ad campaign which features controversial former NFL player, Colin Kaepernick.
“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry Davis said in a statement released on Wednesday. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform."
Campus Reform spoke with College of the Ozarks alumnus Joey Lobland, who graduated in 2011, regarding his alma mater's decision.
"I back the college 150 percent. They have a culture there not only for academics and being a great Christian but to be a great patriotic member of society. They inspired me to be thankful for our county and our freedom," Lobland said.
This is not the first time College of the Ozarks, which employs a "Dean of Patriotism," has deliberately waded into the national anthem controversy.
In 2017, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II Men's basketball tournament was originally scheduled to take place at College of the Ozarks but was eventually moved to a new venue at the college's request. College of the Ozarks enforces a strict "no pledge, no play" policy, which requires players to stand for the national anthem before games on its campus.
"All members of the College community are expected to stand, be respectful, and attentive when colors are presented and anytime the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, and/or when the Star Spangled Banner is played/sung," the college's website states.
“The NAIA respects the rights of all our members to determine the best course of action for their teams in regards to the national anthem. However, our first priority is providing student-athletes the best event possible and neither the NAIA nor the College of the Ozarks want this issue to disrupt the competition or diminish the student-athlete experience," NAIA President Jim Carr said.
"Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," Kaepernick, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2016, says in Nike's video promo, "Dream crazy."
A Nike spokeswoman declined to comment when contacted by Campus Reform on Thursday.
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