The sports apparel giant Nike has weighed in on the protest movement that’s sweeping the NFL.
“Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society,” the company said in a statement, as quoted by CNN.
The controversial movement began in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the traditional playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick declared, observes SB Nation. The protest has since grown into a full-fledged movement among NFL players.
President Trump unwittingly contributed to its growth as campaign rally in Alabama on Sept. 22, when he called for NFL owners to fire players who knelt during the national anthem before games to protest racial injustice and police violence.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,'” Trump said.
In response to his remarks, every NFL team denonstrated during the anthem during the following week’s games.
Nike has the rights to make all NFL uniforms through the 2019 season, notes CNN.