Colin Kaepernick is still without a job.
It’s not because he no longer spins the ball like a viable pro quarterback. Kaepernick made clear last month during a controversial workout that he still has the arm talent to play in the NFL.
Just as damning of the league’s ongoing refusal to sign him? Further confirmation that Kaepernick moves merchandise more quickly than any of the NFL’s current crop of superstars.
On Monday, Nike unveiled the Air Force 1 x Colin Kaepernick , the newest offering in its signature line from the sports world’s leading activist. The shoe includes a graphic of Kaepernick, donning his now familiar afro, on the heel as well as several other features exclusive to the former San Francisco 49ers superstar.
It goes without saying that there are inherent limits to the effectiveness of athlete endorsers whose careers are no longer active. Michael Jordan is the exception in that regard, not the rule. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that Kaepernick, now out of the NFL for three full seasons, occupies that rarified air alongside Jordan, too.
Why? The “True To 7” Air Force 1s were entirely sold out mere minutes after they were released on Monday morning.
But don’t fret, sneakerheads. Kaepernick’s Air Force 1s will be re-released at some point early in 2020.
Just because Kaepernick’s sneakers will be available again soon, though, doesn’t mean they’ll be much easier to get your hands on. The ‘True To 7s’ are just the latest release from Nike’s signature Kaepernick line that has flown off the proverbial shelves.
Nike announced in September 2018 that Kaepernick would be the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. A few weeks later, the Kaepernick Icon Tee sold out within hours of it being available for sale. The same thing happened in February when Nike released the $150 Kaepernick Icon Jersey.
Kaepernick, clearly, has an extremely loyal following. It’s safe to say the demographic hoarding his apparel and sneakers with such speed and enthusiasm differs drastically from the NFL’s overwhelmingly white, male, aging base . A surprise uptick in television ratings this season suggests the league is trending the right direction, too.
But there’s obviously a segment of Kaepernick loyalists whose nonexistent or waning NFL fandom could be resuscitated if the league brought him back. Instead, team owners continue cowing to bias of the “average” fan by refusing to sign an objectively qualified player due to his sociopolitical activism.
Are the sensibilities of those fans more important than potentially expanding the NFL’s popularity? Apparently. Fortunately for Kaepernick, his followers are supporting him whole-heartedly – and financially – regardless.