Impact of Kaepernick controversy on schools with Nike contracts

The Colin Kaepernick controversy is hitting close to home.  People across the country have been expressing disapproval of Nike hiring Kaepernick for its new advertising campaign.  Now some local parents realize their kids will be wearing Nike uniforms at school during team sports.

Nike has a deal to give each school in Katy ISD $30,000 worth of apparel for the next five years.  In fact, a number of Houston-area high schools and colleges are contracted to have their student athletes wear Nike uniforms.  So what will happen now that the swoosh is caught in cloud of controversy since teaming with the former NFL quarterback?

The Nike 'Are your dreams crazy enough?’ ad will air during the NFL’s season opener.  Kaepernick narrates while the commercial highlights amazing athletes like Lebron James and Serena Williams. Then Kaepernick is seen and says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

You may remember Kaepernick couldn’t get re-hired in the NFL after kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.  Now that Nike has hired Kaepernick, those who disapprove have been burning the brand’s sneakers and apparel.  So what about the student athletes here in the Houston area who are required to sport the swoosh?  Katy ISD, UH and University of St. Thomas all have contracts with the world's largest shoe and apparel brand.

Some parents are weighing in on whether schools should continue to "just do it" or just switch to a different brand.

"I think it would be a good idea to let the kids make the decision, the athletes that are involved should be in that decision process. It’s a teachable moment. It’s a good opportunity for the kids to express themselves,” says Katy resident Stephen Epps.

"I agree with the people that kneel. I don’t think that means you disrespect the flag and a brand has nothing to do with it.  So instead of burning your clothes or your shoes, give them to a homeless person,” says one mom who has a student at Katy High School.  

"Nike has the right to do what it wants to do.  Why do we have to instill in the kids so much division just because of a pair of shoes?” asks Katy resident Frank Uran. 

"I still like Nike. Colin Kaepernick is live. He was a great quarterback. I’m glad he got the ad. I’m probably going to buy a jersey now,” says Katy High School senior Trevor Wilson. 

We spoke with one mom who says she does not support the kids continuing to wear Nike, but she did not want to give her name or appear on camera.

One local high school coach told us, “We’re glad to have quality gear and cleats provided by Nike.  If my kids learn anything from this I hope it’s that we respect everyone’s freedom of speech.”