When I saw the new Nike Inc. ad starring former National Football League player Colin Kaepernick in my Twitter feed on Monday, my first thought was, “Wow, that’s risky.”  And my second thought was, “If any company can walk this tightrope successfully, it’s Nike.” The ad, which is part of the the 30th anniversary of the famous Just Do It campaign,instantly entwined the company with the controversy surrounding Kaepernick, who as an NFL player protested police brutality against African-Americans by kneeling during the national anthem before games. It’s all the more jarring considering the fact that Nike is a major supplier to the NFL.

There was instant blowback. Twitter is already lighting up with #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt memes, and it is nearly certain the company will get some shopper defections over this. In the financial markets, Nike shares dropped more than 2 percent on Tuesday morning. But for Nike, this is a campaign worth getting behind.  It helps that the apparel gi...

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