Count LeBron James among the many athletes who support Nike’s advertising campaign featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Per the Associated Press, James ended his acceptance speech for an award at Harlem’s Fashion Row on Tuesday night with a simple message.
“I stand with Nike, all day, every day,” the Los Angeles Lakers star said.
Nike unveiled its new marketing campaign Monday as part of the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan with an ad that featured Kaepernick and the caption, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The NFL issued a statement in praise of Kaepernick for helping to raise awareness of social issues and assisting communities across the country.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity,” said Jocelyn Moore, the league’s executive vice president of communications and public affairs (h/t NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport). “We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities. The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Speaking to Vince Coglianese and Saagar Enjeti of the Daily Caller on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said Nike’s ad sends “a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.”
Trump spoke about Nike and the NFL again on Wednesday:
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!
Kaepernick began protesting during the national anthem in 2016 with the 49ers. He has been a free agent since March 2017, and his collusion lawsuit against the NFL will go to trial after an arbitrator refused to dismiss the case.
James has also been a spokesman for Nike since his NBA debut in 2003. The four-time MVP signed a lifetime deal with the apparel company in December 2015.