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Missouri college to strip athletes of Nike branding over Kaepernick controversy

Nike uniforms are vestimenta non grata at the College of the Ozarks after the company’s Colin Kaepernick ad campaign.

The private Christian college in Missouri announced Thursday that its athletic teams will no longer buy Nike uniforms and any it has now will be removed, the Kansas City Star reports.

In a statement, college president Jerry C. Davis accused Nike execs of “promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America” with the Kaepernick campaign.

“If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them,” Davis said. “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.”

Nike, which aired a Kaepernick-narrated ad during the NFL season opener, is “free to campaign as it sees fit,” just as the college is free “to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed,” says Marci Linson, the school’s vice-president for patriotic activities.

President Trump also criticized Nike and NFL anthem protests Thursday. “I don’t like what Nike did. I don’t think it’s appropriate what they did,” he said before a rally in Montana. The AP reports that there were no “clear-cut protests” during the season opener, in which the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 18-12.

Sources say Kaepernick watched the ad’s premiere from Nike headquarters in Oregon.

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