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Sports Store's Nike Boycott a Factor in Its Demise

'This was about principle,' says Prime Time Sports owner Stephen Martin
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2019 6:22 AM CST
People walk by a Nike advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick on display in New York on Sept. 5, 2018.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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(Newser) – A man's counter-protest to Colin Kaepernick's taking a knee is putting his sports store out of business. Stephen Martin, owner of Prime Time Sports in Colorado Springs, opted to drop all Nike gear after Nike debuted its 30th anniversary ad campaign featuring Kaepernick last fall. Now, he can no longer afford his lease at Chapel Hills Mall after 21 years in business. "Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas," Martin tells KOAA. "They have a monopoly on jerseys." Indeed, Martin's protest—following his 2016 move to cancel an autograph signing with Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall after he took a knee during the national anthem—meant he couldn't stock any current NFL players' jerseys.

"That part of the military respect that's in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did," Martin tells KOAA. But "as much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized." Though he cited declining mall traffic and competition from online retailers, Martin said the fallout from his Nike boycott was a factor in closing the only full-service, licensed fan shop between Castle Rock and the New Mexico border. Still, he appears to have no regrets. "This was never about property to me, this was about principle," he told CNN. Everything in the store is currently 40% off, and he expects to shut down in March. (A Louisiana mayor rescinded his Nike ban.)

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