Tyler Merritt, an Army veteran and owner of Nine Line Apparel, has launched a shirt line with the words “Just Stand” on the front.
Merritt told “Fox and Friends” hosts Saturday on Fox News that his new shirts are a direct response to Nike’s collaboration with former NFL quarterback and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick.
“They decided to take a stance. This is our stand,” Merritt said.
Nike’s campaign kicked off on Monday with a tweet from Kaepernick that featured the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” over the former player’s face.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Merritt said he didn’t agree with the insinuation made by Nike that the sacrifices made by Kaepernick were anywhere near those made by the men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces.
“The word ‘sacrifice’ in the military members, it’s something severe,” he said.
Kaepernick’s tweet has received hundreds of thousands of retweets, and nearly a million likes on Twitter.
Many Americans strongly oppose the national anthem protests Kaepernick started in 2016, finding them disrespectful to the country and those who have served in the military. Nike’s Kaepernick campaign prompted some people to burn their gear from the athletic apparel giant and others to declare they won’t purchase any more of its products.
Nine Line Apparel designed its shirts to provide such people with a suitable replacement for their Nike gear.
— NineLineApparel (@NineLineApparel) September 5, 2018
During his interview, Merritt specified several times that he was not speaking for all veterans, only for himself.
He also called out Kaepernick, saying the quarterback’s career was nearing its end before the media frenzy that surrounded his national anthem protests.
Kaepernick’s protest was said to have begun with the purpose of bringing attention to police brutality. It soon pivoted to what Merritt and others consider disrespect toward law enforcement, with Kaepernick even mocking police by wearing socks with pigs in police hats.
Country musician John Rich tweeted a photo of Kaepernick wearing the socks Monday, reminding his followers that Kaepernick’s protest wasn’t as respectful as it is often portrayed.
Hey @Nike I guess you made @Kaepernick7 your new “face” of the brand because you love the way his socks look with your shoes? @Reebok here we come. #WeStand @TomiLahren @greggutfeld @kilmeade @RedneckRiviera pic.twitter.com/tgtbl8VFzv
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
According to Merritt, Nike’s partnership with someone who would disrespect police to that extent shows a lack of concern for the customers who disapprove of his divisive actions.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Merritt said. “If you want to say that you’re promoting social injustice, then actually do something.”
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