College of the Ozarks is not a fan of Nike’s new “Just Do It” campaign.
Nike this week announced former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of the long-running advertising campaign’s 30th anniversary. Kaepernick in 2016 started the controversial practice of kneeling during the national anthem in an effort to protest racial injustice.
"Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt," Kaepernick tweeted Sept. 3 along with an image from the ad, following up yesterday with a video of the ad.
Point Lookout-based C of O responded by announcing plans yesterday to remove athletic uniforms it’s purchased from Nike or that contain the company’s emblem. Student athletes, according to a news release, will no longer be allowed to wear the brand.
C of O spokeswoman Valorie Coleman this morning said the cost to replace the uniforms likely will exceed $100,000 at the college and its School of the Ozarks laboratory school.
“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” C of O President Jerry Davis said in the release. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. 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.”
C of O’s goals include encouraging an understanding of the heritage of the United States and civic responsibilities, as well as promoting love for one’s country and a willingness to defend it.
“Nike is free to campaign as it sees fit, as the college is free and honor-bound by its mission and goals, to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed,” said Marci Linson, C of O’s vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions, in the release.
The dismissal of Nike-branded uniforms is not the first time the private Christian college has taken action over opposing views.
Last year, C of O pulled out as host of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ Men’s Division II Basketball National Tournament after 18 years. C of O staff cited a “no pledge, no play” policy through which the college would not participate in games unless all participating players and coaches stood for the national anthem. NAIA officials declined to enact a policy requiring everyone in attendance to stand for the national anthem at games, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
In 2016, C of O canceled its nearly four-year uniform contract with Lands' End Inc. (Nasdaq: LE) over the company’s decision to run an interview with pro-abortion rights activist Gloria Steinem in its spring catalog.
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