Country singer John Rich, one half of the duo Big & Rich, took to Twitter on Monday to criticize Nike’s new “Just Do It” ad campaign with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been the face of NFL players’ controversial decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.
Rich took offense at socks that Kaepernick was photographed wearing in 2016 during practice sessions when he was signed to the San Francisco 49ers. The sock depicted cartoon pigs in police uniforms. Kaepernick released a statement at the time saying he wore them as a commentary against “rogue cops.”
Rich seized on the socks as the basis for his flurry of tweets: “Hey @Nike I guess you made @Kaepernick7 your new “face” of the brand because you love the way his socks look with your shoes? @Reebok here we come.” The Tennessee native, who also operates the Redneck Riviera bar in Nashville’s Lower Broadway tourist district, went on to tweet, “When you compare police to PIGS, this ends the discussion for me.”
Ironically, it was a different pair of socks that caused Rich’s tweets to go viral: he posted a photo of a pair of shredded white athletic socks, writing, “Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions.”
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
As a member of Big & Rich with “Big Kenny” Alphin, Rich scored hits like “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),” “Comin’ to Your City” and “Lost in This Moment.” As a solo artist, he released his answer to a faltering U.S. automotive industry, “Shuttin’ Detroit Down,” in 2009 and championed senator John McCain’s presidential run against Barack Obama in 2008 by writing “Raisin’ McCain.” Another of his songs, “The Good Lord and the Man,” featured the chorus “‘Cause we’d all be speakin’ German / livin’ under the flag of Japan / If it wasn’t for the good Lord and the man.”
In 2017, Big & Rich, along with African-American country-rapper Cowboy Troy, were booked to perform at the Great America Alliance Inaugural Gala, part of President Trump’s inauguration events.