Nike boycott backfires spectacularly
The owner of a sporting goods store in Colorado, America says his shop is going out of business after he stopped selling Nike products over the company's controversial campaign with NFL icon Colin Kaepernick.
Prime Time Sports, in Colorado Springs, is shuttering its doors after "21 mostly good years", owner Stephen Martin wrote on Facebook this week.
He advertised 40 per cent off all merchandise, and thanked those who "offered help and support through the 'Honour The Flag' memorial wall and Nike boycott".
Martin said he can't afford to stay open anymore after he stopped selling Nike products, in protest after the sports brand featured Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, in its "Just Do It" campaign.
The controversial ad from the campaign included a photo of Kaepernick's face, with the words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything" superimposed on it.
Nike's decision led to calls for a boycott of the company, with more than 42,000 people tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott the day after the ad was released.
Kaepernick became a controversial figure in the US after kneeling during the American national anthem before a game in protest of discrimination and police brutality against black people. His stance sparked waves of similar protests from fellow NFL stars, who joined him in kneeling whenever the anthem was played.
But the NFL didn't appreciate the move, trying to prevent protests by telling players who didn't want to join in they could stay in the locker room but everyone on the field had to respect the anthem. Violations would result in fines.
Even president Donald Trump joined the debate, furiously tweeting his distaste for anyone who would have the gall to disrespect the country by kneeling during the anthem.
Martin said once he made the decision to go ahead with the boycott, he was living on borrowed time.
"Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas," he told KOAA-TV.
"How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys."
Martin said that despite having NFL apparel for every team in the league sold at his store, he isn't selling the jerseys of any current NFL player because of his decision to boycott Nike.
"As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realised," Martin confessed, adding that he cancelled an autograph event with Marshall, of the Denver Broncos, in 2016 because the linebacker knelt during the national anthem.
Martin revealed on Facebook on Friday his boycott had turned ugly.
"My mother was just called a 'w***e' over the phone while working (the) register. This ugliness has to stop. I am not a 'racist pig,'" he wrote.
Martin said Prime Time Sports will remain open until he's sold all his remaining merchandise, but is seemingly proud he did what he felt was right.
"I didn't give in to big Nike and big dollars. I didn't give in. I did it my way," he said. "That part of the military respect that's in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did. I don't like losing a business over it, but I rather be able to live with myself."
Martin anticipates his store will close in about a month's time.
This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission