A Colorado sports store stopped selling Nike items last year after the brand named Colin Kaepernick as the face of its "Just Do It" campaign.

By Jenna West
February 13, 2019

A Colorado sports store is closing its doors after sales dropped following the owner's decision last year to stop stocking Nike items, according to KOAA News 5 in Pueblo, Col.

Prime Time Sports owner Stephen Martin told News 5 that he can no longer afford his lease at Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs after being open over 20 years. Last year he decided to stop selling Nike items after the brand made former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

"Being a sports store without Nike is kind of like being a milk store without milk or a gas station without gas. How do you do it? They have a monopoly on jerseys," Martin said.

Martin said that he sells apparel for all 32 NFL teams but no longer sells players' jerseys, which are manufactured by Nike. He also told News 5 that he canceled an autograph signing with Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall at his store in 2016 because Marshall chose to kneel during the national anthem before games.

"As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized," he said.

Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2016 when he decided to begin kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Dozens of other NFL players ultimately joined him. Nike named Kaepernick as the face of its "Just Do It" campaign in September 2018. Gino Fisanotti, the company's vice president of brand for North America, called the former quarterback "one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation."

Martin told News 5 that online sales have also contributed to a 15% decline in sales he's seen over the past three years. He predicts his store will close in about one month.

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