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September 4, 2018

NIKE STOCK PLUNGES AFTER TAPPING KAEPERNICK AS ‘JUST DO IT’ CAMPAIGN POSTER BOY.

But is that merely a temporary blip that was already calculated as an acceptable loss by the giant corporation? Jim Geraghty explores “The Audacity of Nike:”

You almost have to admire the audacity of Nike; for decades they’ve cemented their position as The Man by marketing an image of fighting The Man. Don’t let anyone tell you that they’re a group of daring, iconoclast rebels. They’re a massive publicly traded corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of athletic shoes, sporting equipment, and apparel, and their chairman is worth about $22 billion. They’re getting sued for “pay discrimination and limited opportunities for women to win promotions” and failing to address sexual-harassment complaints. They’ve settled class-action racial-discrimination lawsuits for millions of dollars. They operate a political-action committee that gives to both parties (although more to Democrats) and are quite active in Oregon state politics.

They are the kind of big, powerful corporation with a long history of documented exploitation of overseas labor that is usually the villain in leftist narratives. Staunch progressives who proudly wear the Nike swoosh are like impassioned environmentalists wearing Exxon Valdez t-shirts.

And now, for the cost of a few million — remember Nike had nearly $10 billion in revenue last quarter — the company bought the loyalty of the woke Social Justice Warrior crowd. Sure, some folks on the right will announce they’re boycotting, but nobody collects and analyzes marketing research data like Nike. They’ve no doubt run the numbers on this and concluded that the controversy was worth it. In fact, the controversy is the whole point of the marketing campaign. (It sure as heck isn’t Kaepernick’s performance on the field!) The aim is to get every Kaepernick-hater in the country publicly raging about it — the president, conservative-talk radio, sports-talk radio — so that everyone who agrees with Kaepernick feels almost obligated to go out and buy the Kaepernick sneakers, shirt, hat, etcetera.

To paraphrase Jonah Goldberg on Twitter, The Man Can’t Bust Our Sneakers!