Nike’s decision to include former-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in an advertising campaign prompted boycotts across the country. Five months later, Stephen Martin’s decision to boycott has cost him his business.
“All merchandise 40% OFF. Thank You for 21 mostly good years. For everybody that has offered help and support through the ‘Honor The Flag’ memorial wall and NIKE boycott, now is your time to help me liquidate,” Martin wrote on Facebook this week.
Martin owns Prime Time Sports in Colorado Springs. He stripped Nike gear from his shelves in September as Nike released its ad with Kaepernick, who kneeled during the National Anthem at his games. Kaepernick said he kneeled to protest racism and discrimination.
“To me, putting profit before principal (sic) questions an individual or an institution,” Martin wrote on Facebook at the time of his boycott. “I question NIKE regarding their recent endorsement of Collin Kaepernick for their latest advertising campaign, who according to them, ‘sacrificed everything.'”
Martin added that Kaepernick’s story doesn’t compare to the stories of veterans, and he wanted to honor them by cutting ties with the sports gear company. And while El Paso County is conservative, the business plan didn’t work for Martin in the end.
“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 the Colorado Springs NBC affiliate, KOAA.
Regardless of the showing of support on Martin's Facebook post, there hasn't been enough business in his store. He told KOAA that he can no longer afford his lease.
Martin noticed an obvious difference in profit because of jersey sales. He told KOAA that he didn’t have any current jerseys in his shop because of the Nike boycott.
“Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys,” Martin told KOAA.
KKTV, the CBS affiliate in the Springs, reported that Prime Time canceled an autograph signing with Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall in September, also for taking a knee during the anthem.
Martin didn’t say when the store will officially close.