College of the Ozarks drops Nike over new "Just Do It" ad

POINT LOOKOUT, Mo. -- The College of the Ozarks says it's dropping its affiliation with Nike in response to the company's new ad campaign.

Nike released their ad campaign this week on the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan. It features ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The endorsement deal is prompting a flood of debate online as sports fans react to the apparel giant backing an athlete known mainly for starting a wave of protests among NFL players of police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues.

“In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America,” said College of the Ozarks President Jerry C. Davis. “If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them. We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”

College of the Ozarks has made its views regarding patriotism clear. In October 2017, the college revised its contracts for competition in all sports, adding a stipulation all participating players and coaches show respect for the American flag and national anthem. Then, the College of the Ozarks also requested that the NAIA move the 2018 Men’s Division II Basketball Tournament to another venue, which they did. The tournament is no longer played at College of the Ozarks.

“Nike is free to campaign as it sees fit, as the college is free, and honor-bound by its mission and goals, to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed,” Linson said Dr. Marci Linson, vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions.