‘More Colin Kaepernick fans than I realized:’ Store closes after refusing to sell Nike

Still choosing to stand,” “All Nike 1/2 price,” “Just doing it,” read the three-tiered protest banner doubling as a sale promotion in Stephen Martin’s sporting goods store in Colorado Springs, Colo. in September.

Now the signs on the clothing racks at Martin’s Prime Time Sports are directing shoppers toward a different kind of sale — a “going out of business” sale, according to KOAA.

He says he hasn’t sold a stitch of Nike apparel or gear since the fire sale inspired by the company’s latest “Just Do It” ad campaign, featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the station reported.

“I am still choosing to stand. Still choosing to honor our Flag and Anthem for what they represent, no matter what the cost is to me because I too, ‘Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,’” Martin wrote on Facebook at the time. “We have a choice. We have a voice. And I am not choosing to be a NIKE dealer anymore. Everything NIKE 1/2 price until its all gone.”

Now, that Nike boycott is the reason he’s closing the business he’s owned for 21 years.

“Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas,” Martin told KOAA. “How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys.”

"Honor The Flag" Day 714. My name is Stephen Martin owner of Prime Time Sports since 1997. To me, putting profit...

Posted by Stephen Kurtis Martin on Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Martin said he recognizes that racial injustice, which is what Kaepernick and other athletes said they were protesting by taking a knee during the national anthem before NFL games, permeates today’s society, according to the Washington Post. But Martin explained beef with the anthem kneeling this way:

“You don’t trample over the men who have given Colin Kaepernick and me the right to free speech,” he said, according to CNN.

He had $320,000 worth of Nike gear in the store at the time he made his stand in September, the Post reported. Selling it all at half price helped seal the store’s fate.

“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” Martin said, according to KOAA.

Martin also canceled a 2016 Brandon Marshall autograph-signing in-store appearance when the wide receiver knelt during the anthem, the station reported. That was two years before the furor over the Colin Kaepernick ad, which employs the tagline, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Everything in the store is 40 percent off until Martin closes the Prime Time doors inside Colorado Springs’ Chapel Hills Mall, according to a more recent Facebook post.

“Thank You for 21 mostly good years,” Martin wrote in that post. “Now is your time to help me liquidate. Please do your Facebook thing with everyone you know so this can go as quickly as possible.”

Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.