“I just can’t keep the doors open anymore.” These are the words of regret spoken by Stephen Martin, owner of Prime Time Sports. After more than 20 years in business, he is forced to shutter his doors forever. And it was by his own hand.
In response to Nike’s now infamous ad campaign starring former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Martin decided to sell all Nike gear at 50 percent off as well as discontinuing carrying the brand. It was a bold move that proved to be a huge mistake and a big miscalculation on his part. You see, Nike is the sole licensed sponsor of all NFL apparel, now and for the foreseeable future, after signing a long-term contract extension last March. And, it is a large part of Martin’s revenue due to the fact that it makes up 40 to 50 percent of his inventory.
Credit: Stephan Martin’s Facebook page
“Being a sports store and not having Nike jerseys 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 to CBS affiliate KKTV in Colorado Springs. Well….you don’t say. It seems painfully obvious that Martin didn’t completely think this through. Nor did he take into consideration the fiscal ramifications of completely separating himself from the biggest supplier in his market. Not smart at all.
Denver Broncos Linebacker Brandon Marshall
Kap wasn’t the only sports figure caught in Martin’s crosshairs. Back in 2016, he canceled an autograph signing session with Denver Broncos star linebacker Brandon Marshall because he dared to peacefully protest police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. Again, another big mistake that led to regret.
“As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized,” said Martin. Yeah, perhaps. And they all chose to spend their money elsewhere.
I wholeheartedly believe that a person’s right to air grievances without fear of retribution or censorship is fundamental to American democracy. Peaceful protesting is an American tradition and a form of assembly protected by the Constitution. It is a right of everyone that should be respected as such, even Stephen Martin’s. His biggest mistake is that his protest was born out of ignorance and/or his laziness in refusing to learn or acknowledge the true nature of Kap’s protest. “That part of the military respect that’s in me just cannot be sacrificed or compromised, as I believe Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick both did,” said Martin. Spoken like someone truly oblivious to the truth. The Nike ad so famously stated, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Well it looks like Stephen Martin is more like Colin Kaepernick than he could have ever imagined. I guess Kap won’t be the only protester out of work, and I for one, don’t feel bad for Stephen in the least bit.