College in Missouri stripping athletes of Nike gear over Kaepernick-centered ad campaign

The backlash aimed at Nike stemming from its controversial ad campaign centered around former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spread to the collegiate level. College of the Ozarks, a private college in Missouri, has announced its plans to strip its student-athletes of Nike branding as a result of the campaign.

In a prepared statement from the school, president Jerry C. Davis made clear to note the decision was a direct result of Nike's new ad.

"In their new ad campaign, we believe Nike executives are promoting an attitude of division and disrespect toward America," said 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."

The school's VP for patriotic activities and dean of admissions, Dr. Marci Linson, also offered up her opinion on Nike's campaign.

"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.

College of the Ozarks is an NAIA program that, unlike major Division I programs, isn't locked into a lucrative sponsorship deal with the mega-apparel company. Most colleges of that size pay for their own uniforms, in fact. So for College of the Ozarks, it's not a financial decision as much as it is a stand against Nike.

The new Nike ad will air Thursday night during the NFL's first regular-season game between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. Kaepernick, who has been the face of the campaign, tweeted a preview of the ad this week.

According to the Kansas City Star, the bold decision isn't the first time the College of the Ozarks has been in the news related to similar controversy. Just last year, it revised its sports contracts last October to stipulate all participating coaches and players "show respect for the American flag and national anthem."

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