During the summer of 2017, Nike internally debated whether to cut ties with Colin Kaepernick and the company very nearly did.

Nike has partnered with the NFL since 2012 and thought the decision to keep Kaepernick would risk angering the league, but the company ultimately decided it was a risk worth taking.

Nike's top communications executive, Nigel Powell, persuaded colleagues not to part ways with Kaepernick due to the potential for negative publicity. Kaepernick remained on Nike's roster but he was largely ignore for nearly a year.

When Wieden & Kennedy, Nike’s ad agency for more than three decades, urged the company earlier this year to make the N.F.L.’s ultimate persona non grata the face of its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign, Nike had to weigh the potential repercussions.