Backlash after North Smithfield’s ‘No Nike’ Resolution

Less than 24 hours after the North Smithfield Town Council voted 3-2 in favor of a resolution that discourages town departments from doing business with Nike, many came out to the small town to protest the decision.

The resolution was introduced by Council President John Beauregard, who said that the shoe giant was disrespecting law enforcement by selecting Colin Kaepernick as the front man of its new ad campaign.

Tuesday, around a dozen protesters came out to North Smithfield Town Hall covered in Nike gear to show they are against the proposal.

“Ignorant and old fashioned,” said protester Eduardo Sanchez. “We’re not living in 1965 anymore.”

“As far as government going ahead and expressing its views on its people, I feel like that’s absurd,” said Carlos Then, one of the organizers.

Beauregard felt particularly strong about Nike choosing ‘sacrificing everything, as part of the campaign slogan, because he said Kaepernick did not sacrifice anything, while police officers have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Beauregard was a 25 year veteran of Rhode Island State Police.

“[Beauregard was a police officer and much respect to you and thank you for your service to us as a people, but [Colin Kaepernick] sacrificed a lot,” said Dominique Fullen, a protester. “To lose the thing you love. To get to the NFL.”

The protests did not just stop at Town Hall. Michael Duffy is a student at North Smithfield High School who said that a lot of students wore Nike to express their displeasure with the resolution.

“Lots of people were upset,” Duffy said. “[Students think the resolution] doesn’t really represent a lot of North Smithfield’s values.”

Beauregard actually showed up to the protest outside town hall and had a conversation with the small crowd. 

Protesters said there was a civil conversation between everyone and they appreciate the gesture, but nothing really came out of the conversation.