A private Christian college in Point Lookout, Missouri, vowed to remove all uniforms featuring the Nike logo after the brand’s ad with Colin Kaepernick was unveiled this week. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them,” College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis said in a statement, The Associated Press reports. “We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”
Davis’ statement refers to Nike’s initial tease of the ad campaign, which featured the message, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” written across a black and white close-up of Kaepernick’s face.
A commercial featuring Kaepernick rolled out on the company’s social feeds Wednesday and will air this week during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, as well as during Major League Baseball and college football games.
The ad campaign spurred controversy, with some consumers going as far as to burn their Nike merchandise. Kaepernick, an unsigned free agent, began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to bring attention to police brutality against African-Americans as well as other racial injustices. Other NFL players joined the silent on-field protests, which created an ongoing, polarizing debate across the U.S. fueled by President Trump.
The College of the Ozarks, which competes in sports at the NAIA level, has made a statement against the protests before. The school added a stipulation to competition contracts last year saying it would walk away from any game where the opposing team takes a knee, sits or turns its back on the flag or anthem.