Sneaker and sports apparel giant Nike is coming under fire for their recent efforts to show support for law enforcement in the midst of the continued police war on black lives. Earlier this week, Nike ran a “Law Enforcement Appreciation Day” sales promotion that rewarded police officers with 30 percent off of their purchase in exchange for showing their badge as proof of their profession.
Nike got involved with Law Enforcement Appreciation Week after 9/11, when this new, dominant narrative as police as heroes began.
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) May 14, 2015
Black people are the source of Nike's income and they have the audacity to support law enforcement while we're being murdered. #BoycottNike
— Kiaira (@BlvckConscious) May 13, 2015
— M. (@MalditaBlvck) May 14, 2015
— deray mckesson (@deray) May 13, 2015
— Darian Wigfall (@darian_wig) May 14, 2015
— King Bree (@BreeToniRose) May 12, 2015
Shortly after word got out about the promotion, social media exploded with a shared sentiment of disgust from “Black Twitter” and people in general who support the Black Lives Matter movement. As was quickly pointed out, African-Americans are largely to credit for Nike’s success, from everyday consumers who spend millions of dollars each year on the brand, to the astronomical number of professional black athletes who lend their star power to serve as the face of Nike’s print, television and digital ad campaigns. In light of these facts, it seems people are well justified in their outrage. Nike looks to have realized the massive impact that a loss of support from the black community could have, as they later issued this statement in response to the largely negative reaction to the Law Enforcement Appreciation Day promotion:
“Nike has held discount days in its stores for first responders, including law enforcement and the military, since 9/11. Nike has no intention to offend anyone, nor to imply that we are insensitive to the serious and important issues between law enforcement and black communities in America. We care about and support efforts to continue discussions to create positive change and bring equality for everyone in our society.”
However, the company’s damage control efforts may have come a little too late as the #BoycottNike hashtag is still continuing to pick up speed. Pair that with the fact that it’s getting a little old for us in the black community to keep turning the other cheek to the blatant lack of support from those who depend on us to fuel their streams of income just because a public apology is issued to pacify the masses, and this could be the start of type of boycott action needed to actually spark the type of change we deserve to see.
Nike knew better before they even decided to announce the appreciation day, and they should also know better than to think a carefully crafted, politically correct PR statement will be enough to make us forget that they chose to publicly show support for those killing off their biggest consumer market one unarmed black life at a time. No, it’s not “wrong” of Nike to appreciate those police officers across the country who aren’t murdering black people without just cause and getting away with it, but to run THIS promotion at THIS time can only be seen as a slap in the face to the African-American community, as we certainly aren’t feeling very served or protected by anyone other than ourselves these days
Or was there an equally supportive “Black Lives Matter Appreciation Day” promotion from Nike that we missed? No? Didn’t think so.