In a shockingly candid press release this morning, Nike, the global sportswear titan, announced the termination of its $20 million partnership with Colin Kaepernick. The reason? The former NFL quarterback is, in Nike’s own words, “perhaps a tad too woke for our tastes.”
Kaepernick, the man behind the controversial NFL kneeling movement, had been working closely with Nike since 2018. The partnership spawned memorable campaigns like “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” However, as it seems now, perhaps Kaepernick believed in “a little too much” for Nike’s comfort.
The word ‘woke’, originally African-American slang, has become a rallying cry in recent years. It indicates an acute awareness of social and political issues, especially around race. Kaepernick, in Nike’s perspective, seems to have taken wokeness to a whole new altitude – a bit too high for the comfort of the shoe giant’s boardroom.
Jim Sneakerhead, a senior executive at Nike, commented, “We appreciate passion. We do. But Colin started attending our meetings barefoot, advocating for the rights of shoeless people. It became hard to sell footwear when our own ambassador championed going without it.”
Kaepernick’s commitment to activism and justice has never been in question. But according to inside sources, things took a peculiar turn during a recent photo shoot for Nike’s new line of football cleats.
The shoot, themed “Stand for something”, was intended to picture Kaepernick boldly upright, counterpoising his NFL kneeling image. However, the session was interrupted when Kaepernick insisted on “levitating for justice.” The photographers were left flummoxed, unsure how to capture a floating Kaepernick for a “stand tall” themed shoot.
The decisive incident, however, was Kaepernick’s proposal for a new shoe line – “The Bare Necessities.” These shoes, in Kaepernick’s vision, would be entirely invisible, made from air, and ethically perfect because they would involve no labor, no materials, and no cost. While undeniably eco-friendly, Nike’s design team struggled with the logistics of creating, well, nothing.
“We tried to humor him,” said April Lacedup, head of Nike’s design division. “We even held a faux launch event for ‘Bare Necessities’. But when Colin started talking about ‘the Emperor’s New Shoes’, we knew we were out of our depth.”
The public reaction to Nike’s announcement has been a mix of shock, amusement, and, in some quarters, applause. While many lauded Kaepernick’s continued commitment to being ‘extra woke’, others appreciated Nike’s candor. Tommy Trendy, a fashion influencer on Instagram, noted, “I’ve always said fashion should make a statement. But if your statement is ‘don’t wear shoes’ while promoting a shoe brand, things might get a bit…tangled.”
Kaepernick, not one to be deterred, is rumored to be on the verge of launching his own brand. Early reports suggest it might be named “Kaeptain Barefoot”, a line of ethereal, invisible footwear for the ultra-woke. His spokesperson released a statement saying, “Colin remains committed to challenging norms and breaking boundaries. Whether that means partnering with giants like Nike or floating above the ground for justice, he’s up for it.”
Nike, on the other hand, is rumored to be eyeing a partnership with someone slightly less revolutionary. Sources hint they might be in talks with Bob, the man who stands at the corner of 5th Street holding up a sign that says, ‘Will stand for shoes.’
All we can say is, in the world of endorsements and partnerships, it’s never just black and white. Or in this case, shoe or no shoe. Stay tuned for what promises to be a footloose and fancy-free future.