What branding social activism could mean for Nike's business

Colin Kaepernick, currently embroiled in legal proceedings against the league, was chosen for the company's "Just Do It" campaign, which sparked protests from some sports fans.
9:12 | 09/05/18

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Transcript for What branding social activism could mean for Nike's business
danharris. Reporr: Seeminglyple statement spelled out in black anwhite. S eve in some even iit means sacrificing everything." The face, Colin Kaepernick. With this new ad,ike now Pears to Tes in the debate over kneeling during the national anthem. The controvsy tt has engulfed L. The NFL star the ceer of a national debate -- action to predent trums tweets about player protests stl reverberating around N adiums now to that bold statement ik- Reporter: Sports apparel giant N theormer pro days befll season kickf. Ie history of orts, no ca, nod gn, is"just do ." Michael Jordan tiger S, kobe Bryant, and for T to pick colinkaepernick, a guy who playi right now, buts a huge S print, I something that we haven't seen bere in sports. Reporter: Kaepernick's prt began as a W to raise awareness about racl inequality andoltality against unarmed black me and as soon as he tweetedd yesterday, I VI reaction ranging from supportiv messag like, I am inspired by Howe lives tn spit. To a literalrm outrage. Fans burping their Nike gear in protest. Rry, bee buying don't burn your Nikes. Send them to me, I wear size, thanyou. Reporter: The blowback included country singer John rich. ??? Save a horse ride cowboy ??? Reporter: The group big and rich who launched twe urging flors to boycott Nike. Rich specifically took aim at socks krnick wore to the San Cisco 4p back I 2016, depicting pigs wearing lice hats. Rich otike wants their swoosh to beociated W ca , so bit, I have a right to not buyrproducts. They definitely C the Ong perso for this one. Reporter: In people like New York City police sergeant Joseph inperitwice in the line of Ty. Every Tim filmbers see these players kneel it's hurtful. It's disrespecting our country, Al isily membermade. Reporter: Firing back. As soon as I thatad, I very proud. The stateme he madnd has been making, the family comes forth. He will finally getis justice. Reporter: Thee wheer Nike H crossed a line playing out today "The view." Youreinalienating a number of folks that would normally buy your brand. Ifnoolkst are protesting this, they're not going touynike. And you have half the country Nike uff. For years nikeld not wan to wade into anything that would te a segme of society, which is what makes ts move with Colin kaeick so unique. Reporter: Kaepernk kicked move to kneel during the anthe years ag in solidarity 200 other NFL players,coaches, and owners followed suit king anee or sitting for T anthemame a kin of tical rorch test seen eithsn act of pres -- we back them 100% they' M Faly, my Repter: Or a sign disresct. A lot players are young, naive and stupid should for the national anthem. Reporter:sident tru often fan the flames of this controveouldn't you love see one of these owners, when ] Of the firight now? Out, he's fire There ain't no dividing us, what I'm saying? So ho the super bowl champion Philadelphia E W disinvited from visiting the WHE house aer several players refused to M the present The past couple years I haven't been interested inng to take a O at the white house with that indivial. Reporter:mer new jsey governor and one-time adser chrisri said the president is not to blame Col kaepernic politiciz it. He's the one who decided br a political pub poly issue onto the football field. Reporter: Today the president back on the about the ad telling "The D caller," I th it's a terrible message and a thathouldn't sentthere's no rso added, in another way I wt ISS count is allabout, you have CIN to dthther peoplyoshouldn't but I'm person alternately on a different side of . Kaepernick did always kn. He began protest by sitting. But former NFL player Nate boyer, also a forme beret, felt sitti was disrespectful and wrotehe 49ers quarterback a Lett two eventually talked and up with a compromise. He was askgme, what can I do that you Thi would be mor retful? Because I not going to stand until changes. I suggested kneeling becau you front of fall brother's grave to pay respec. Reporter: Kaepernick is a free ent. He's Y to receive a contract offer toplay. And has filed a grievan against the nflers haolluded to keep him from gnh NFL teams. Sincin league rarely spoken in public. This speecn the sing rare appearce F an ard from amnesty international his activism. It is the people's unbroken love fhemselves THA motivates me even WHE F withdehumanizing nor of a system that can lead to the loss on over simp being black. Orm owners and the league have struggl how toeal with the impacts. Debating policies whether fine players or teams who protest during the anthem. Thefl is trying tolease so manyferent people in their fan se people who are for and against THA they're caught in a 22 so then many ways is damned if they doamned if they don't. Reporter: A new pollnd thority O Americans said kneelinguring the national anthem to protest rl inequali is inappropriate, which is why some consider Nike's kaepernickd S a bold choice. Nike is the ael manuurer for T NFL. The company Signe Kaepernick back in. Theew deal includes a signaturehoe and appine G with Nike making nttions to Kaepernick's fotion. So it seems like while the might have a been fced to act because if its contract ran out, Colin Kaepernick's a vice id for Nike telling ESPN the new deal, quote, col isne of tht inspitional athlete of T generation, who H leveragehe powf sport to lpe theorld forward. The comess NIK iscelebrating 30rs of its "Just do it" campaign. I run 17 M every morning! Reporter: Tue began first hit in 1988. Those three W skyrocketing Kee. Turning the does of top athletes INT catchy, thoughtful at fromichael Jordan to Serena Williams. Be tough Reporter: Who over the weekend about supporting kaeperni mission. I think everyathlete, E human, and definitelyafrican-amican, should be ly grateful for andred toelp Colin and Eric who a doing so much for the greater good. Reporter: Could Nike's more controver itsm line? We' stats THA sgest around 46% of Nike's customer base S kaepernickndis cause. That'sbout10% higher than the national ag Reporter: But advertising expes poi outomeisks reap he red Are they G to lose Omers? Absolutely. Are they goingerpeople we'veeen that all twitteralready. But anow they're probably on the right side history. And they kn there gaining street cr and T know long run, brand boycotts don't really do anything. Repter: For people L sergeant inperitwice, all H sees as company trying to cash a divid nation. You can't F Colin kaeperck for having that opportunity. Foike T go jump into this mediafrenzy anditical war and get a gentlem thatas no relevance to theport more, yeaybes an activist if you want tll hi but to put H up there andve him money and look T make revenue, I don't understand that. Reporter: Pro plaike Chris long recognize Kaepernick's mission and sacrifice. We EP does not job in th NFL bec of his ideology. Then you see major corporation like Nike get behind him, it kind O reinfors that you C stiltand up fowhat you believe? . That's the positive oo me. Reporter: Thursday M the nflson opener. It's not clear if any play will knee F T an them Bute thing that seems clear, Kaepernick is still impacting thessut the NFL of singer Ashlee Simpson returns for round

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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