Nike’s latest controversial decision to halt production of a patriotic sneaker has apparently been good for business.
The apparel company has seen a reported rise in stock prices following the controversy around its brand ambassador Colin Kaepernick and the shoe featuring the “Betsy Ross flag,” according to TMZ.
Nike’s market value increased by $3 billion as its stock rose two percent since Tuesday.
“Friday afternoon, trading Nike shares were up slightly to $86.62 and the company’s market value is now $136.38 billion,” TMZ reported.
Kaepernick made headlines this week after his reported opposition to the planned release of Nike’s Air Max 1 USA sneaker, which had the Revolutionary War-era flag with a circle of 13 white stars featured on the heel.
Nike yanks USA-themed sneaker celebrating Fourth of July after Colin Kaepernick complains https://t.co/2eAEs5Oxr7
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) July 2, 2019
Nike pulled the Betsy Ross shoe from production, sparking a wave of backlash just ahead of the 4th of July.
“NIKE made the decision to halt distribution of the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday,” the company said in a statement.
Kevin O’Leary of ABC’s “Shark Tank” thinks Nike has been able to successfully take controversies like the latest with Kaepernick and “blow it up” with a flurry of successful marketing.
“What I’m beginning to learn about Nike is that they know how to take controversy and blow it up into advertising,” he told TMZ. “They’re doing an incredible job with that, they really are.”
The business mogul believes Nike made a mistake with its latest shoe style but is “taking advantage of it,” and is getting “a lot of press for free.”
“Every time there’s a controversy – it happens every six weeks – they run it for two days long, they know how to do it,” O’Leary continued. “I mean, if you’re a skeptic like me, you realize this company’s an amazing marketing machine. Nobody knew that flag had anything to do with this controversy until they made it so.”
The company was slammed after announcing its decision, prompting a new wave of debate over America’s historical symbols ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made it clear his state would not be offering Nike any financial incentives to do business there as it had bowed “to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism.”
The Coconino County Democrats threw some shade at the Republican in a tweet claiming he wore Nike shoes at a 4th of July event.
— Coconino County Democrats (@CoconinoDems) July 5, 2019
“Really? Yes the Governor owns Nikes. Stop the presses,” a spokesman for Ducey said in a statement, according to Fox 10. “But this story was about our flag and our founding. The Governor didn’t call for a boycott. He didn’t even say the company wasn’t welcome to do business in Arizona. He said we should be respecting our flag — our history and Betsy Ross.”
Nike saw stocks surge last year as well when it signed Kaepernick, who ignited a firestorm when he decided to take a knee in protest during the national anthem.
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