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Liberty University Reexamining Business Relationship with Nike After Kaepernick Ad 

09-08-2018

Sports apparel company Nike's latest advertising campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick has been popular with elites but has bombed with many on Main Street. Kaepernick began the movement of players kneeling in protest during the national anthem before NFL games.

As CBN News reported, the campaign, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything," also has some colleges examining their business relationship with Nike.

According to USA Today, Liberty University is one of those schools. The university has a contract with the apparel company for its teams' uniforms through 2024. 

Because of the ad campaign, Jerry Falwell Jr., Liberty University president, told the newspaper that he is "exploring" the school's relationship with Nike.

"If Nike really does believe that law enforcement in this country is unfair and biased, I think we will look around," Falwell said. "If we have a contract, we'll honor it, but we strongly support law enforcement and strongly support our military and veterans who died to protect our freedoms and if the company really believes what Colin Kaepernick believes, it's going to be hard for us to keep doing business with them. 

"But if it's just a publicity stunt to bring attention to Nike or whatever, that's different. We understand that. We understand how marketing works. But they're going to have to convince us that they're not proactively attacking law enforcement officers and our military. If that's the reason behind using this ad, we're going to have a hard time staying," he continued.

Falwell has been a staunch supporter of President Trump and his outrage over players kneeling during the anthem.  

After Nike announced the campaign, the president tweeted, "What was Nike thinking?" But he did add that the company had a right to express itself.

Liberty is a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision. NBC Sports reports more than 50 percent of top-level football schools to have a business relationship with Nike, including big-name programs like Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Texas, and USC.  

College of the Ozarks, a private Christian school, also announced this week it is dropping Nike over the Kaepernick ad.  College President Jerry C. Davis said, "If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them."

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