Colin Kaepernick was about to lose his Nike endorsement deal, but it happened


Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been in exile in the NFL for nearly 6 years and clean-shaven in that time. The situation got so bad for him that even his sponsorship deal with sportswear manufacturer Nike was in jeopardy. The famous sports manufacturer had thought about removing Kaepernick from its list of sponsored athletes, but something changed its mind.

The rumor of separation plans between Nike and Kaepernick returned in 2017 with some of its decisions upending the hierarchy of the sports manufacturer. With the player no longer playing in the league, the split seemed inevitable before Nike communications manager Nigel Powell intervened. Powell played a key role in illuminating the hierarchy of the potential backlash they could receive by releasing Kaepernick.


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Although he was reportedly pressured by the NFL to cut ties with Kaepernick, Nike was bold enough to continue with him. But their faith in Kaepernick and the risk they took on him paid off as they generated a record number of interactions during their groundbreaking campaign with him. It was a welcome boost for the company in these difficult times and gave them some much needed goodwill support. The strategy employed by Nike in the “Dream Crazy” advertising campaign was “a stroke of genius” in stock market circles.

How did Colin Kaepernick break through with Nike?

The sports builder has been associated with Kaepernick since 2011 after the 49ers written him in the 2nd round. Their partnership continued throughout his tumultuous tenure with the team. He’s been through a lot, including his Super Bowl run, benching, injuries, and other situations. In their endorsement campaigns centered on him, the unveiling video went viral online and helped elevate Nike.


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Both Nike and Kaepernick’s efforts sent them into a new realm of stardom. The success of their campaigns has sparked conversations in various circles. While Nike has a history of provocative marketing campaigns, they have been able to capitalize on the momentum. It was something of a change they were only discovering then.

It gave the Niners QB their platform and the backing of a major sports maker for their ideas and beliefs.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 28: Colin Kaepernick arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Netflix’s ‘Colin In Black And White’ at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on October 28, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage, Credit: Getty Images)

The NFL’s possible return in 2022 will be due to their successful association and collaboration over the years. It will be up to Kaepernick to show his skeptics that he is an NFL player beyond his Nike campaigns. While interest in signing him remains high, things are looking up for the 34-year-old NFL QB.


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