LeBron James: ‘I stand with Nike’ amid controversial Colin Kaepernick ad
LeBron James on Tuesday stood in solidarity with Nike amid the swirling controversy involving the company’s new deal with Colin Kaepernick.
James, who has enjoyed an extremely lucrative partnership with Nike since 2003, closed an acceptance speech for an award Tuesday night at Harlem’s Fashion Row by pledging his support for the company.
“I stand with anyone who believes in change..and I stand with Nike every day, all day,” James said at the Nike-sponsored event.
The Los Angeles Lakers star’s vocal demonstration of support of Nike follows a social media dispatch earlier in the week in which James highlighted Kaepernick’s new ad, in which the still-unemployed quarterback is made the face of the company’s “Just Do It” campaign amid its 30th anniversary.
Several high-profile athletes showed support for Nike and/or Kaepernick amid a growing backlash against the new ad, including Kevin Durant and Tom Brady. James previously also praised Kaepernick
On the other hand, there have been critics who have called out Nike for aligning itself with Kaepernick, who became a polarizing figure thanks to his role in launching the national anthem protest movement in the NFL. There have been calls for boycotts and some individuals have taken to burning their Nike gear, among other acts.
President Donald Trump, among the most outspoken critics of the NFL amid the protest controversy, indicated on Tuesday Nike’s Kaepernick ad sends a “terrible message.” The NFL also issued a statement in which the league states the “social justice issues” raised by Kaepernick, as well as other athletes, “deserve our attention and action.”