FACT CHECK: Did Nike Say It Can Afford To Lose ‘Make America Great Again’ Customers?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A viral Facebook post shared over 5,800 times claims Nike said, “We’re a $76 Billion dollar company that can afford to let go of all ‘Make America Great Again’ customers.”

Verdict: False

There is no record of Nike making the statement. A Nike spokesperson confirmed that the company did not say the quote attributed to it in the post.

Fact Check:

The sports apparel company announced Colin Kaepernick, who sparked a movement of players protesting police brutality during the national anthem, as one of the faces of an advertising campaign in 2018, according to The New York Times. President Donald Trump said at the time that Nike was sending a “terrible message” by featuring the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback in the ads.

The viral post falsely alleges Nike said it “can afford to let go of all ‘Make America Great Again’ customers,” despite no evidence the company made such a remark. (RELATED: Is Kanye The Highest Paid Person In Footwear?)

Had the company done so, major media outlets likely would have reported on it, yet none appear to have done so. A search of Nike’s social media accounts didn’t turn up any matches for the alleged statement, and the company hasn’t said anything to that effect in a press release. In an email to Check Your Fact, a Nike spokesperson confirmed the quote is fake.

It’s also worth noting that Nike’s market capitalization is over $175 billion – not $76 billion – at the time of publication, according to Nasdaq.

The claim that Nike made the statement appears to have started circulating in 2018, shortly after the deal between Nike and Kaepernick got announced. A Twitter user claimed in September 2018 that a Nike spokesperson made the statement during an interview with NPR, though NPR segments from the morning of the announcement contain no such quote, according to Snopes.

The fake quote may have stemmed from a comment made by sports writer Justin Tinsley, who told NPR, “I don’t think Nike’s going to take too much of a financial hit.”

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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