A sports store in Colorado is going out of business after its owner decided to boycott Nike products to protest the company's advertising partnership with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Just five months after Stephen Martin touted that he was taking a stand against Nike, hanging "All Nike 1/2 Price" posters from the windows of his Prime Time Sports store in a mall in Colorado Springs, the owner announced that he could no longer afford to stay open.
In early September, Nike unveiled its new ad campaign starring Kaepernick, who, in 2016, spearheaded kneeling during the national anthem before football games to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
The ad focuses on the former San Francisco 49ers player, who has remained a free agent since his controversial protest made NFL games a national and political issue, with the quote "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
The same day Nike launched its campaign, Martin decided to stop selling the brand, arguing that unlike war heroes, Kaepernick doesn't "know sacrifice."
"We have a choice. We have a voice. And I am not choosing to be a NIKE dealer anymore. Everything NIKE 1/2 price until its all gone," the store owner wrote on Facebook.
On Sept. 5, Martin told Fox 21 News that Nike was a large chunk of his business and he probably wouldn't be able "to keep the doors open."
"I really doubt that I can survive without Nike," he said.
Now, new posters are plastered across Prime Time Sports' windows, stating, in bold letters: "Store Closing" and "40% Off Everything."
"Thank You for 21 mostly good years," Martin wrote on Facebook on Sunday, asking those who had supported him for the Nike boycott to now "help me liquidate."
"Please do your Facebook thing with everyone you know so this can go as quickly as possible," he said.
Nike's Kaepernick campaign roiled stores, local governments, and half of the internet, inspiring people to burn their shoes and ban their employees from wearing the brand in protest. The mayor of one Louisiana town even tried to ban his recreation department and booster clubs from buying or accepting any Nike products. It did not go over well.
About two weeks after the ad hit, Edison Trends reported that the company's controversial bet to feature Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary Just Do It campaign actually boosted its online sales.
“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” Martin told KOAA News.
The sports store owner estimated that his store will shut its doors for good in a few weeks and is trying to help his staff find other jobs.