College of the Ozarks drops Nike
The private Christian college of about 1,500 students announced in a news release Sept. 5 that student-athletes will no longer wear the brand in response to the company's 30th-anniversary ad campaign featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“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 stated its views regarding patriotism, the American flag, and the national anthem. In October 2017, the College revised its contracts for competition in all sports, adding a stipulation that all participating players and coaches show respect for the American flag and national anthem. The College 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.
Marci Linson, vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions, oversees patriotic activities at the College and safeguards the College’s patriotic goal: to encourage an understanding of American heritage, civic responsibilities, love of country, and willingness to defend it.
“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.