Henrico store owner says customers can decide to buy or not buy Nike

Shoe store owner has no plans to pull Nike from shelves

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Nike is not backing down from its new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick that generated a lot of backlash as owners of Nike products took to social media to declare their intentions to never support the company again and, in some cases, burn their gear in protest.

But undeterred, Nike will air a new commercial during Thursday night's first NFL game featuring the former NFL player, who started the movement of taking a knee during the national anthem in protest of what he considered to be police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Kaepernick shared the commercial to Twitter account Wednesday, prompting more outrage and threats of boycotting Nike and the NFL for allowing the ad to air.

"Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," the ad says.

"If they laugh at what they think you can do, good. Stay that way," Kaepernick says in the video.

When Nike customers learned of the company highlighting Kaepernick in its new ad, that's when the anger erupted.

"That pisses me off....There goes your stock right there buddy," one customer said in a video posted on YouTube.

On Twitter, messages such as, "Nike has always been my favorite...but I will never buy another product with their name or logo," like one person posted were commonplace.

Nike did have its share of supporters, including several household names like actor Jim Carrey, who said, "Thank you Nike for just doing it."

Jeff Whells owns Fleet Feet in Henrico and said Nike was already a polarizing company, but still a very popular one.

"They sell more running shoes than any company," said Jeff Whells. "People love them and people hate them, and we find that with our customers as well."

But don't expect to see Nike products come down off his shelves any time soon. Whells said customers decide what to buy and he will keep the familiar "swoosh" logo stocked for those who want it.

"A lot of times, it's just an emotional state where people are just fired up at first," Whells said. "Others are going to take it for a while and that's fine. We carry the brand, and we just leave it to the customer to decide if they will buy it or not."

Among the most notable critics of Nike is President Donald Trump. He has been outspoken about NFL players not standing for the national anthem, including at a rally where he said they shouldn't be allowed to play if they don't stand. He called Nike's association with Kaepernick association a "terrible message."

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