U.S. Markets closed

Boxing Legend De La Hoya on Nike–Kaepernick: 'I live in America for a reason'

Katie Krzaczek
Associate Editor

Nike’s new campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick has stirred up attention since the ex-49er announced it Monday on Twitter.

Nike (NKE) supplies apparel for the NFL’s 32 teams and has a contract that runs through 2028. At the same time, Kaepernick has an ongoing arbitration case against the league accusing NFL teams of colluding to prevent him from securing a player contract after he protested police brutality and other forms of social injustice during the national anthem. President Trump has tweeted repeatedly railing against the protests.

Boxing legend Oscar De La Hoya, who was known as “The Golden Boy” before becoming a successful boxing and mixed martial arts promoter, agreed with Nike’s campaign featuring Kaepernick.

“I strongly believe in freedom of speech, and I strongly feel that Nike is a powerhouse in the industry that obviously knows what they’re doing,” the 45-year-old Mexican-American said on Midday Movers. “I live in America for a reason. … Nike is doing the right thing.”

Kaepernick tweeted an image from the new ad campaign. Nike retweeted him. (Photo: screenshot/Twitter/@Nike)

‘I just find it hard to watch… until they stand for the FLAG!’

President Trump, despite his public crusade against Kaepernick and the anthem protests, echoed De La Hoya’s comments.

“As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way — I mean, I wouldn’t have done it,” Trump told the Daily Caller on Tuesday. “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.”

Trump also claimed that “Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent.” However, according to Forbes, Nike ended its lease in a Trump-owned building last year and has since signed a 15-year lease with a different property management company.

The president followed up his Daily Caller comments with a tweet on Wednesday that contradicted his initially measured response to the campaign.

Trump also went after Nike, tweeting without evidence that the company is “getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.”

‘The National Football League believes in dialogue’

Starting in the third game of the 2016 preseason, Kaepernick — then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers — sat as the national anthem played before the game began.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL Media at the time. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

After having a conversation with an American veteran, Kaepernick kneeled for the anthem for the rest of the season to show respect for the military while still protesting.

In this Sept. 25, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick kneels during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Kaepernick has not played since he entered free-agency after opting out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017. He’s currently embattled in a lawsuit claiming collusion among the 32 NFL teams, preventing him from securing a player contract.

According to Bloomberg, the campaign scored the company $43 million in media exposure through 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning. It’s part of the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign.

The NFL offered words of support for the Kaepernick campaign.

“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding, and unity,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s Executive Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs, said in a statement. “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.”

Michael B. Kelley contributed to this post.

Read more: Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign has more reward than risk