Following a three percent drop in the first day of trading after the debut of Nike’s controversial, Colin Kaepernick-led ad campaign, the company’s share price has rebounded to surpass the level at which it stood before the campaign.
Nike shares were trading at $83.00 as of midday Tuesday after falling more than three percent from $82.20 last Tuesday following news that Kaepernick, the polarizing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, had been signed to lead Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign.
Kaepernick emerged as the face of a controversy that rocked the NFL in 2016, when he repeatedly took a knee during the pre-game national-anthem ceremony to protest racial discrimination in policing. As other players followed Kaepernick’s lead in taking a knee, the protests became a hot-button national political issue. Kaepernick himself has remained an unsigned free agent since he opted out of his contract with San Francisco in March of last year, and has filed a complaint with the NFL alleging owners are colluding to keep him off the field.
NFL owners voted in May to impose fines on any team whose players kneel during the national anthem while allowing players to remain in the locker room during the ceremony if they so choose. However, ESPN reported this weekend that the policy will not be implemented this season due to pushback from the NFL players’ union.
Nike stock has increased 58 percent over the last year, outpacing competitor Under Armour, which saw shares climb just 16 percent over the same period. Following the recent stock dip, analysts familiar with the athletic-apparel market speculated that Nike executives had factored in the short-term backlash prompted by Kaepernick’s participation and rightly predicted the stock would make a quick recovery.