John Rich Explains His Objection to Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Ad: Police ‘Are Farthest Thing From Pigs’
Nike unveiled the ad on Monday for the 30th anniversary of its Just Do It campaign. The spot features the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and the words, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." Kaepernick touched off a national debate when he became the first NFL player to take a knee during the National Anthem during the 2016 season. He led the movement to protest police violence toward minority communities and the shooting deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of authorities.
Rich reacted to the new ad by writing, "Hey @Nike I guess you made @Kaepernick7 your new 'face' of the brand because you love the way his socks look with your shoes? @Reebok here we come." He accompanied his objection with a picture of Kaepernick's socks, which feature caricatures of police officers with pig faces. Rich spent several hours debating back and forth about the issue with Twitter users, many of whom agreed with him, while many others derided his post.
The Big & Rich singer released a formal statement on Tuesday afternoon (Sept. 4) to further explain his objection after his post went viral, clarifying that his objection is not to the protest itself, but rather to what he sees as Kaepernick's disrespect for law enforcement.
"I support every American's right to protest whatever they want. However, if you endorse someone who wears #PIGSOCKS that's where you lose me. If @nike wants their 'swoosh' to be associated with calling our police 'Pigs' then so be it. I have a right to not purchase," he states.
"Our police saved lives at the Las Vegas shooting where we played, and the heroism they displayed is second to none," Rich adds. "We appreciate the job they are willing to do all day, everyday to protect all of us. They are the farthest thing from pigs."
Kaepernick has remained a free agent since the end of the 2016 NFL season, and he has filed a lawsuit against the NFL for what he alleges is a conspiracy to keep him from playing as a result of his protests. According to The Hill, an arbitrator ruled last week that Kaepernick's lawsuit will move forward to a trial.
ESPN reports that Nike signed Kaepernick to an endorsement deal in 2011, and has kept that deal in effect over the ensuing years.
"We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward," Nike Vice President of Brand for North America Gino Fisanotti tells ESPN.
See John Rich's Twitter Comments on Nike and Colin Kaepernick