Per usual, President Donald Trump woke up bright and early to tweet on Friday morning. This time, he went with, “What was Nike thinking?,” a clear reference to the brand’s new campaign starring former NFL star Colin Kaepernick.
Fresh on the heels of a fear-mongering campaign rally in Montana, the tweet — like most of Trump’s tweets — was clearly intended to rile up his base. Fortunately, it was also a rhetorical question, which everyone knows is a recipe for disaster if you’re trying to prove a point.
What was Nike thinking?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2018
As it turns out, a lot of people have solid theories about what Nike was thinking.
The opposite of racism
— Travon Free (@Travon) September 7, 2018
What was America thinking?
— Seano [-0-] (@SeanBradbery) September 7, 2018
Why are you tweeting about this?
They are protesting racial injustice..
— Ryan Hill (@RyanHillMI) September 7, 2018
They were thinking of the millions and millions of dollars of free advertising you would give them.
— 🌸michelle ebeling🌸 (@ShellE719) September 7, 2018
That standing up for the right of protest was a good idea for a responsible corporate citizen
— Lewis Iwu (@lewisiwu) September 7, 2018
I asked the same when I found out people were voting for you. “What were they thinking?”
— 🌊William 🌊 (@wlouis94) September 7, 2018
That we should really do something about police brutality.
— feminist next door (@emrazz) September 7, 2018
Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was exiled from the NFL in 2016 after he began protesting police brutality in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem. Since then, he’s been unable to find work with another team, but his protest has spread like wildfire among his fellow athletes.
This spring, he was also named Amnesty International’s “Ambassador of Conscience” for 2018, which only bolstered his already solid reputation as a courageous and principled activist — i.e., a great person with whom to align your brand.
So, yeah, that’s probably what Nike was thinking.