A Colorado sporting goods store will shut down after 20-plus years in business—all because the proprietor wanted to make a political statement.
Prime Time Sports owner Stephen Martin is expected to close his shop sometime in March, about six months after he decided to stop selling Nike products in light of the brand's polarizing campaign starring Colin Kaepernick. While many people praised the sportswear giant for supporting the embattled athlete, others called for a Nike boycott due to Kaepernick's on-field protests against police brutality. The former 49ers player has been credited for starting the #TakeaKnee movement, in which athletes kneel during the national anthem.
"According to me, [Kaepernick] has sacrificed a salary," Martin wrote in a note posted on his storefront back in September. "Nothing compared to what every soul on our 'Honor the Flag' memorial wall that was built a few years ago has suffered and died for."
Martin now says his decision to boycott Nike has severely hurt his business, as the brand makes all NFL jerseys.
"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?" he told NBC affiliate KOAA. "They have a monopoly on jerseys."
Martin also said he the store previously canceled an autograph session with Brandon Marshall. He said he decided to call off the event because the athlete had also taken a knee during the national anthem.
"As much as I hate to admit this, perhaps there are more Brandon Marshall and Colin Kaepernick supporters out there than I realized," Martin said.
Prime Time Sports is now offering liquidation sales until "there is nothing left." Martin told KOAA that he didn't want to close down his business but is leaving with his dignity.
"I didn't give in to big Nike and big dollars," he said. "I didn’t give in. I did it my way."