Ole Miss Steers Clear of the Nike Controversy

“For most people [the Nike Swoosh] didn’t register,” Professor of Sport and Recreation Administration Kim Beason said. “Most people probably knew we were sort of Nike but they didn’t care, but now does it register. Does the swish register with people. Are they gonna see it more than they did before? Nike likes that.”

One stroll around the Ole Miss campus and there is no question who our sponsor is. From the countless Nike apparel in our bookstores to the many student athletes draped head to toe in Nike. the brand is very visible on campus.

Last Thursday Nike shook the country when they released an ad that featured ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick prompting backlash from certain groups and even prompting a response from President Trump.

Following the release of the ad, the University of the Ozarks ended its partnership with Nike and the Mayor of Kenner, La advised people close to him to avoid using Nike products for the recreational activites.

The University of Mississippi has yet to release a statement or response to the ad continuing business as usual.

The University of Mississippi is 1 of 10 sec schools who have a partnership with Nike or one of its affiliates and after a 12 year extension in 2015 they are contracted to remain with Nike until 2027. Under this contract Nike promises to pay Ole Miss $1.9 million annually to be the exclusive provider. Ole Miss is also sheltered from having to spend cash for Nike Products.

“Does the university benefit from Nike or does Nike benefit from the university,” Beason said. “That’s what it comes down to. If its mutual we’ll stay with nike until Nike isn’t mutual beneficial to us.”

The release of the ad was as controversial as the act itself but most school that are contracted with Nike are bond by a contract which doesn’t allow the school to leave unless Nike goes bankrupt or doesn’t pay it the money they promised.

Here at the university student athletes have largely been unbothered by the ad being released some even going as far as saying it brought the team together.

“Everybody on the team is a family,” Ole Miss Track and field team member Emanuel Foster said. ” Everybody agrees with each other so there isn’t really any racism or anything like that.”

Support for Kaepernick’s and Nike’s actions were widespread amongst student athletes.

“I think its good for the brand because the stand that Colin Kaepernick took with all that is going on in America and the world it shows that they don’t care about just one Side but care about anything,” Ole Miss football player Brenden Williams said.

Ole Miss has largely attempted to avoid any controversy itself with coaches recomending their players to stand for the anthem out of respect.

The communications department for athletics couldn’t be immediately contacted for comment.

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