Conflicting reports have emerged regarding former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's apparel following his deal with Nike. The company has made him the face of its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign, but it is unclear if he will have a signature shoe and clothing line.
Darren Rovell of ESPN reported the update Tuesday amid talk of Nike's plans for the NFL free agent, who started the movement of kneeling during the United States national anthem before games to protest racial injustice in August 2016.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports refuted Rovell's report:
Charles Robinson @CharlesRobinson
I have tremendous professional respect for Darren but we’re going to step on each other here. I’ve been told by multiple sources there is absolutely a contract commitment by @nike for a signature shoe and “Kaepernick 7” line of apparel. And I’m reporting that, not speculating it. https://t.co/kSXq50SbvI
Selection of the polarizing Kaepernick has led to some backlash against Nike.
Uday Sampath Kumar and Emma Thomasson of Reuters noted shares of the company stock dropped three percent during early trading Tuesday, while the hashtag "Nike Boycott" trended on Twitter throughout the morning.
Kaepernick, who's remained a free agent since opting out of his contract with the Niners in March 2017, is engaged in an ongoing collusion case against the NFL.
The protest movement he started is still a controversial topic the league is struggling to navigate.
A new poll released Friday from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal showed 54 percent of respondents called kneeling during the anthem "inappropriate" and 43 percent considered it "appropriate."
Although NFL owners approved anthem rules in May that allowed the league to fine teams that had a player kneel on the sideline, the guidelines are on hold with the 2018 season set to kick off Thursday night amid discussions with the Players Association.
Kaepernick has been honored for his efforts, which included $1 million in donations, by being named GQ magazine's Citizen of the Year in 2017 and winning the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International earlier this year.