Colin Kaepernick is back as a front-facing Nike pitchman. People are burning apparel to make a statement. Big & Rich’s soundman has cut the swooshes off his socks. Others are patting the company on the back for its “brave” choice while ignoring the obvious folly. Its stock price is being closely monitored for political leverage.
All of the things one would expect to happen are happening.
And this is just the beginning. Reporting for Yahoo, Charles Robinson reveals that Kaepernick’s deal is more wide-ranging than initially reported, including a line “built around him encompassing shoes, shirts, jerseys and other apparel.”
Though, to be fair, ESPN’s Darren Rovell’s sources are telling him otherwise.
Robinson also reports that Nike was not the only suitor vying for Kaepernick’s marketability.
Industry insiders told Yahoo Sports that Adidas and Puma were among multiple brands that had conversations about potentially building around Kaepernick if Nike failed to renew his deal following a long stretch of endorsement inactivity. “We talked about Colin in March. A lot, actually,” one shoe industry executive said. “We all know the specific kind of deals NFL players are on with each other. His deal was running out and he had a shoe commitment that hadn’t been done for whatever reason. I’m sure it was because of everything that was going on around him. But it looked like Nike was running out the clock on [his deal] because he didn’t have a lot of time left and nothing was really happening with him. So there were some discussions for us about what kind of an endorser he could be.
These discussions obviously never got to the actionable stage. The other companies kicking the tires will either see this new deal as the one that got away or a major headache that was sidestepped. Unless, of course, people start torching their gear for merely considering the partnership.
That’s a very real possibility.