Nike's stock price took a hit in early morning pre-market trading on Tuesday after the sportswear giant debuted a new ad campaign featuring NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.
Nike picked Kaepernick to lead its 30th anniversary 'Just Do It' campaign that also includes tennis superstar Serena Williams.
Kaepernick courted controversy in 2016 when he remained seated on the bench during the national anthem. After the public backlash, he got off the bench and kneeled on the sideline.
The 30-year-old quarterback said he was protesting social injustice. But some fans noticed he waited until he was benched to become a "woke activist".
The Nike campaign was first announced on Kaepernick's Twitter account late Sunday.
He tweeted a b&w image of himself with the words "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," superimposed over his face.
His tweet sparked an uproar on Twitter as hashtags #BoycottNike and #Justburnit began trending on Monday.
"We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward," Nike North America vice President Gino Fisanotti told ESPN after the initial backlash.
Kaepernick, who was 3-16 during his last season with the 49ers, filed a grievance against the league for colluding to blackball him -- despite the fact that he turned down at least 2 contract offers.
"It's amazing how a washed-up quarterback has turned his mediocrity into a new career by simply playing the race card," wrote one Reddit.com user early Tuesday.
Another user wrote, "Nike believes in Kaepernick so much it will sacrifice its sales."
Nike, once the global leader in sportswear, has since taken a backseat to Adidas which inked a collaboration deal with pro-Trump rap producer Kanye West in 2013.
The brand stood by Kanye earlier this year after he came under fire for telling TMZ he thought 400 years of slavery "was a choice."