The Chronicle of Higher Education is reporting that the College of the Ozarks will no longer use Nike athletic gear after the sports apparel company revealed an ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick. Here is a taste:
Nike’s new ad campaign includes a close-up photo of Kaepernick’s face with the sentence, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
As a result, the College of the Ozarks, a small Christian institution in rural Missouri, announced that it would get rid of all athletic uniforms that had been purchased from Nike and anything else that displays the Nike “swoosh” logo, according to a news release.
The college revised its sports contracts in October 2017, adding a stipulation that all participating coaches and players “show respect for the American flag and national anthem,” the release said.
“If Nike is ashamed of America, we are ashamed of them,” the college’s president, Jerry C. Davis, said in a written statement. “We also believe that those who know what sacrifice is all about are more likely to be wearing a military uniform than an athletic uniform.”
Marci Linson, vice president for patriotic activities and dean of admissions, said that “Nike is free to campaign as it sees fit, as the college is free, and honor-bound by its mission and goals, to ensure that it respects our country and those who truly served and sacrificed.”
First, what does it say about the College of the Ozarks that it has a “vice-president for patriotic activities?”
This is not the first time the College of Ozarks has made news for its God and country convictions. In October 2017, we wrote about the college’s course on “patriotic education and fitness.” We also wrote about the school’s refusal to engage in intercollegiate athletics against schools that “disrespect the flag.” David Barton, the Christian nationalist and GOP activist who uses the past to promote his agenda, has described College of the Ozarks as a “safe college.”
I am curious how the “God and country” program at the College of the Ozarks affects faculty members. Is a faculty member’s job in jeopardy if they support, based on Christian conviction, “taking a knee” at a football game? What if a professor argues that patriotism should not play such a strong role at a Christian college?