You knew it wouldn’t be long before the nation was forced to hear President Trump’s response to Nike’s decision to hire Colin Kaepernick — the originator of the NFL protests that have led to players kneeling during the national anthem to express their displeasure with police shooting unarmed black men — for their latest ad campaign.
Indeed, Trump unleashed a torrent of criticism about the sportswear company’s advertising campaign in an interview published today by The Daily Caller, the right-wing political website founded by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Nike’s legendary “Just Do It” slogan, the new series of ads was previewed by Kaepernick on his Twitter feed yesterday when he posted a stark black and white close up photo of his face emblazoned with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
The reference to sacrificing everything is an obvious comment on the former San Francisco 49er’s status as an unemployed free agent despite his successful track record and obvious talent. Kaepernick has filed a suit accusing the NFL team owners of collusion in refusing to hire him after the protests, despite the fact that multiple teams regarded him as a worthy starting quarterback according to his lawyers’ discovery process in the case.
Trump told The Daily Caller that there was “no reason” for Nike to include Kaepernick in their campaign which also features Serena Williams, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Shaquem Griffin, a rookie linebacker whose left hand was amputated when he was four.
“I think it’s a terrible message. Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent,” Trump told the website, further highlighting the fact that the president continues to profit from his real estate business despite having supposedly handed daily operations of the Trump Organization to his sons.
“But I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it,” Trump speculated, “but I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.”
Given Trump’s frequent tirades against NFL players who take the knee and his persistent distortion of the message that the players are sending with their actions, his barely coherent response to the Nike Kaepernick ad, a response that includes no reasons for his opinion about its unspecified message, is not surprising. With the NFL season about to begin later this week, you can be sure that this is not the last we’ll hear from Trump on the issue as he looks for distractions from the avalanche of news about the corruption and incompetence of his flailing administration.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.