This post has been updated.
Nike is facing a social media firestorm over its Law Enforcement Appreciation Day promotion, which offered 30% discounts to police officers and other law enforcement personnel at Nike stores. The May 13 promotion—publicized with flyers and social media postings aimed at law enforcement—coincided with “National Police Week,” an annual US event honoring law enforcement officers.
But the timing of the event—which appears to be coincidental, and was scheduled months ago—is raising hackles in the wake of a recent spate of police-involved deaths of black civilians in Baltimore, North Charleston, Ferguson, Cleveland, and other US cities. Madison, Wisconsin officials announced on May 13 that the police officer who fatally shot 19-year-old Tony Robinson, an unarmed black teen, would not face criminal charges.
Much of the backlash took place on Twitter’s #blacklivesmatter hashtag. Many users noted the importance of the black community as the source of some of Nike’s biggest fans.
Others suggested they were no longer keen on Nike’s products:
Some wondered what went on in the corporate boardrooms when planning the promotions:
Update, May 15: Nike was not immediately available for comment when this story originally posted. It has since sent Quartz the following note:
Nike has held discount days in its stores for first responders, including law enforcement and the military, since 9/11. Nike has no intention to offend anyone, nor to imply that we are insensitive to the serious and important issues between law enforcement and black communities in America. We care about and support efforts to continue discussions to create positive change and bring equality for everyone in our society.