Nike shares hit as Kaepernick ad spurs boycott

Eli Harold, Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline during the anthem prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys in 2016. (AFP)
Updated 04 September 2018

Nike shares hit as Kaepernick ad spurs boycott

  • Calls for a boycott of Nike gained traction on social media following its choice of Colin Kaepernick as a face for the 30th anniversary of its Just Do It slogan
  • Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning US eastern time, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter

NEW YORK: Shares of Nike Inc. fell 3 percent on Tuesday as calls for a boycott of the sportswear giant gained traction on social media following its choice of Colin Kaepernick as a face for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan.
Former San Francisco quarterback Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racism, posted a black-and-white close-up of himself on Instagram on Monday featuring the Nike logo and “Just do it” slogan, along with the quote: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning US eastern time, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter. Some posted images of themselves burning and ripping their Nike shoes and apparel.
“First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country,” Twitter user @sclancy79 said in a post retweeted 16,000 times. “Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?,“
Still, there were a large number of other users who took positively to Nike taking a stand on social issues.
Athletes including LeBron James and Kevin Durant showed support, posting images of Kaepernick’s ad on their Instagram profiles.
Even former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad weighed in, tweeting: “The #NFL season will start this week, unfortunately once again @Kaepernick7 is not on a NFL roster. Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.”
Retail industry analysts were divided on whether the heat around the campaign would be a commercial positive for Nike or ultimately alienate and lose customers.
“The alt-right calls for a Nike boycott will fail just like the boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods failed,” said Matt Powell, a senior adviser with market research firm NPD Group. “Old angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike.”
Gun rights supporters called for the boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods earlier this year after the retailer stopped selling assault rifles and high-capacity magazines following a massacre at a Florida high school in February.
Another analyst, GlobalData Retail’s Neil Saunders, said the campaign will harm Nike in middle America, where it is battle Germany’s Adidas for dominance in the sneaker market.
“The company’s stand may go down well on its native West Coast; it will be far less welcome in many other locations,” he said.
US President Donald Trump has been critical of athletes taking a knee during the national anthem and has said he would love to see NFL owners fire football players who disrespect the American flag.
Nike, who confirmed on Monday that Kaepernick was part of the campaign and called him “one of the inspirational athletes of his generation,” did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.


British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

Updated 42 min 14 sec ago

British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

  • Job losses necessary as cash reserves of IAG, British Airways’ parent company, would not last forever

LONDON: The boss of British Airways said its parent company IAG was burning through $223 million a week and could not guarantee its survival, prompting him to urge unions to engage over 12,000 job cuts.
British Airways came under heavy attack from lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, who accused it of taking advantage of a government scheme to protect jobs while at the same time announcing plans to cut its workforce by 28 percent.
Planes were grounded in March due to coronavirus restrictions, forcing many airlines to cut thousands of staff as they struggle without revenues. Airlines serving Britain now face an additional threat from a 14-day quarantine rule.
In an internal letter to staff seen by Reuters, Alex Cruz, the chief executive of British Airways said the job losses were necessary as IAG’s cash reserves would not last forever and the future was one of more competition for fewer customers.
BA also wants to change terms and conditions for its remaining workers to give it more flexibility by, for example, making all crew fly both short and long-haul.
Cruz said IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, was getting through $223 million a week, meaning that it could not just sit out the crisis. The group had €10 billion of liquidity at the end of April.
“BA does not have an absolute right to exist. There are major competitors poised and ready to take our business,” Cruz said in the letter.
He urged two unions which represent cabin crew and other staff, GMB and Unite, to join in discussions to mitigate proposed redundancies. Pilots union BALPA is “working constructively” with the airline, he added.
Cruz also joined other airline bosses in criticizing Britain’s quarantine rule, due to come into effect on June 8, calling it “another blow to our industry.”