You can take the man out of business, but you can’t take the business out of the man.
President Trump had a surprising message for Nike—after they hired former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to be the face of their latest ad campaign.
Calling it a “terrible message,” Trump nevertheless agrees that, well, business is business.
“As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way — I mean, I wouldn’t have done it,” Trump said. “In another way, it is what this country is all about, that 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.”
“But I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it,” he also said, “but I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.”
Kaepernick famously courted controversy in 2016 when he began kneeling during the National Anthem—which became a national talking point in 2017, when President Trump himself fanned the flames.
Not hired by another team after his contract with the 49ers expired, Kaepernick’s Nike ad uses the slogan: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
But the hefty payday from Nike has also led to criticism that Kaepernick was selling out—and, in fact, had not sacrificed all that much.
Pundit Piers Morgan slammed Kaepernick in a scathing editorial, writing:
“Until today, I genuinely thought Colin Kaepernick was acting purely from a point of fiercely held principle, and one I happen to agree with. Now, I’m not so sure. By taking Nike’s money, Kaepernick’s made it seem like he won’t salute the flag, but he will bow down to the dollar. And by filling his boots with corporate cash, he’s made a mockery of any suggestion that he’s been ‘sacrificing everything.’”