Why Companies Need To Stay Out of Politics

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Former quarterback Colin Kaepernick poses for a photoshoot for Nike’s new ad campaign. Photo by Nike.

Earlier this month, athletic company Nike released its new campaign ad with the phrase “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” with the face of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. During the 2016 preseason, Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to protest against police brutality and the treatment of African Americans. After his first protest, multiple other players of the National Football League (NFL) adopted his strategy and began kneeling during the national anthem. At the end of the 2016 game season, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers and entered the 2017 season as a free agent.

Upon the ad’s release, Nike’s shares fell more than 3 percent, resulting in a $4 loss. Furthermore, people began filming themselves on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms burning their Nike products and calling for a boycott of Nike goods.

This isn’t the first time a major company has gotten involved in politics and suffered for it. Dick’s Sporting Goods took a stand against gun rights by refusing to sell “military-style weapons like the AR-15”, and gun advocates called for a boycott against Dick’s. When kneeling NFL players accompanied every football game during the 2017 season, ratings soon dropped 10%. In perspective, that means a typical game was watched by 1.6 million fewer people than normal. Hollywood has been known to insert bits political propaganda in their films.

For example, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Black Panther all have scenes or central characters that appeal to the liberal agenda. Solo depicts a feminist robot continuing to call for equal rights; The Last Jedi criticizes free-market capitalism. Black Panther periodically insults the history and culture of the United States.

There are other companies that have come out supporting or attacking one side of the political spectrum- In N’ Out has recently donated $25 thousand to the Republican party of California. Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have begun removing conservative users from their websites. Consumers don’t care what CEOs and managers believe, which is why when companies try to sell politics instead of products, sales and ratings typically go down. Companies need to keep their concerns and propaganda out of the business area. It’s unprofessional and previous evidence shows that it can only backlash negatively on said company. In addition, the public finds it irritable that sports television has now become a place for political messaging and that their Twitter account has been taken down for supporting their side of the political spectrum. Businesses are created to sell products to consumers, not to shove propaganda in their face.