Kaepernick’s Nike campaign sparks outrage around the US
FURIOUS Americans are burning their Nike gear after the sports giant included controversial kneeling quarterback Colin Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary campaign.
Thousands tweeting the hashtag #BoycottNike have threatened to destroy their clothing, while some shared footage of trainers being set on fire, The Sun reports.
Kaepernick divided the country when he refused to stand and instead knelt during the national anthem in several NFL games in the 2016 season to protest racial inequality in the country.
But many conservatives, politicians and even Donald Trump accused him of "spitting on the flag" and the servicemen who kept the country safe.
The online backlash since Nike unveiled him as one of the athletes to celebrate three decades of its Just Do It slogan has been aggressive and non-stop.
It retweeted a photo of the former San Francisco 49ers player with the tagline: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
Many commenting underneath supported his stance but the vast majority were less forgiving, with one saying: "Big mistake Nike!"
Larra, who describes herself as a "full-time softball mom", went on: "My family will not be buying, wearing, or speaking the name Nike.
"Kneeling during the National Anthem is unacceptable … the soldiers that died to maintain his rights deserve his respect."
She was not the only one with social media awash with videos of Americans chucking expensive sneakers into furnaces.
Sean Clancy posted a video of his pristine white Nike shoes in flames with the words: "Since when did the American flag and National Anthem become so offensive?"
Another self-professed conservative was seen throwing his trainers into an outdoor furnace.
He wrote: "Nike, due to your support of Colin Kaepernick in your coming ads, I as an American can no longer support your company."
Twitter user Coach Trotter uploaded an ominous of himself waving an electric flame over dozens of running shoes, saying: "Can't believe Nike would do such a thing."
On Tuesday, Nike spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John announced Kaepernick as one of the athletes featuring in the new campaign.
Vice-president Gino Fisanotti said: "We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward."
None of the NFL's 32 teams have signed either Kaepernick or another ex-49ers player, Eric Reid, since their protests spread through the league.
In May, the NFL players' union vowed to appeal against a decision to banish anyone who knelt during the national anthem to the locker room.
It allowed the NFL to fine a team whose players protest on the sidelines, with individual franchises to set their own rules regarding players who knelt.
The NFL Players' Association immediately said it would challenge any part of the new policy that violated the collective bargaining agreement.