The still-smoldering debate over NFL players kneeling for the national anthem erupted into a tsunami-sized firestorm this week as Nike announced it had made Colin Kaepernick its product poster boy.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
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What on earth was Nike thinking? I don't care what you think of Kaepernick or the controversy that made him a household name, this was a pretty stupid business decision. Businesses are in business to make money, not lose money. Half of the country hates the guy, and people are already burning their Nike sneakers!

Nike stock lost three percent on the first day. That's billions in stockholder investments out the window, just like that.

Two days before the start of the new season, just as the NFL thought the kneeling controversy was beginning to simmer down--POOF! Nike, its corporate partner blows up the world. Whoa!

Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images
Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images

Maybe there is some buried strategy here that's going to play out and make Nike a whole lot of money and a ton of new fans, but I don't see it.

For me, this was a pretty boneheaded business decision that could hurt Nike for a long time. Or forever. You know, the kind that buried IBM, Polaroid, Sears, and many other companies whose executives listened to their hearts and not their heads.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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