U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday slammed sports apparel giant Nike for its decision to include former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a recent ad campaign.
"Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts," Trump said on Twitter. "I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?"
Nike has been the focus of protests for some after it chose to include Kaepernick in its "Just Do It" campaign. Those who have taken issue with the decision posted videos on the Internet of them burning Nike shoes and other apparel.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has been at the center of player protests seeking to draw attention to injustices experienced by the black community in the U.S.
Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season when he began the protests, which typically include players taking a knee during the National Anthem.
Nike's advertisement includes a black and white portrait of Kaepernick with a prominently displayed caption reading: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
Trump has been a vocal critic of the player protests, but offered a relatively nuanced take Tuesday telling the conservative Daily Caller news website that while he thinks "it’s a terrible message" for Nike to be including Kaepernick "it is what this country is all about."
"You have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it," he said.
Nike is the NFL's exclusive apparel provider through 2028, and after posting a modest loss Tuesday on Wall Street, the company is in positive territory on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.