Following the Monday launch of Nike’s 2018 "Just Do It" campaign starring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, consumers across the country began destroying their Nike-brand shoes and apparel over Kaepernick's 2016 protests, during which he knelt during the National Anthem at NFL games.
But the Hillsborough Police Department wants members of the community to consider donating them instead.
On Tuesday, the department released a statement on their Facebook page, encouraging members of the community not to burn their usable Nike products. The post urges people who are planning to destroy their products to reach out to the police department so they can get them to people in need. They are calling the outreach “Donate Before Destruction.”
Hillsborough Police Lt. Andy Simmons said the promotion is not political in nature and has more to do with helping those in need than the Nike-Kaepernick partnership.
“Why destroy something that’s perfectly useful for somebody that can’t afford to have it?” Simmons said.
UNC first-year Joshua Kegeris said he was surprised a brand like Nike would take such a clear stance on a topic that’s so divisive among so many people. He said he respected Kaepernick’s history and the protesting he did during his time in the NFL.
Kegeris said he doesn’t see the point in destroying Nike products, as Nike has already made a profit off the consumer’s purchase. He said Nike, to him, is a brand that produces a well-made product that performs well, and he will continue to support the brand.
“I’m not going to burn mine; they make really good shoes,” he said.
Kegeris said he thinks the Hillsborough police offering to find people in the community who need the shoes and other products is a great way to turn something negative into a positive thing for the community.
Simmons said Hillsborough police haven’t seen people in the immediate community participating in the destruction of Nike-brand products, but they wanted to reach out to the community before people started to follow the national trend erupting on social media.
UNC student Rachel McKinney said the Kaepernick partnership hadn’t really affected her view of Nike as a brand, but she thought it was a good marketing strategy for the brand that will benefit it in the long run.
McKinney said she isn’t sure how effective the Hillsborough police outreach will be. If people were destroying their Nike products in anger, she said, they probably wouldn’t be interested in donating them.
“It seems like they’d be in an angry mindset, not a ‘let me help other people’ mindset,” she said. “But I think it’s a cool idea.”
Simmons said Hillsborough police will accept any items, and regardless of the brand or variety. Be it shoes, socks or other clothing items, their primary concern is getting someone the things they need.
“There’s somebody else out there that can use that and can’t afford it,” he said. “It’s already been paid for, so destroying it isn’t helping the community at all, whereas it could be used as a resource for those in our community.”
While Simmons said he and the police department understand and respect locals' right to do whatever they want to their personal property, he urges those who may be considering destroying their property to think about the people who don’t have these items.
The community reaction has been largely positive, Simmons said.
“Our overall goal is to be partners with our entire community,” he said. “No matter what side that you’re on.”
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