Nike celebrated Colin Kaepernick as a social-justice folk hero with its “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” ad campaign, but apparently the slogan doesn’t apply to the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
After positioning itself as an unabashed champion of Mr. Kaepernick’s free-speech rights, Nike has been conspicuously silent on the uproar roiling the NBA, saying nothing about China’s decision to punish the Houston Rockets after general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for the protesters.
In fact, Nike stores in China quietly pulled their Houston Rockets merchandise off the shelves last week, according to Reuters, an indication that the sports apparel giant has already made the decision to protect its bottom line rather than the consistency of its “speak truth to power” message.
The difference in Nike’s approach has not gone unnoticed. Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, tweeted he was “still waiting for @Nike& their stable of ‘woke’ social-justice warrior/athletes to speak out.”
With a few exceptions, however, most of the blowback has been directed at the NBA and, more recently, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, who unleashed a social-media outcry by telling reporters Monday that Morey “wasn’t educated on the situation.”