COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (Gray News) – For 21 years, Prime Time Sports has sold sporting goods to Colorado Springs residents.
But a decision to boycott Nike products last fall has left the store in such a financial hole, it’s being forced to close its doors.
"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. They have a virtual monopoly on jerseys. There is no other option," store owner Stephen Martin said.
For context, this involves former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He famously started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to bring attention to racial injustice and police brutality.
To say the demonstration tanked his popularity would be an understatement. He has become the subject of public ridicule, was once targeted by President Donald Trump during a rally and has been unable to land a job in the NFL since 2016.
So, when Nike named Kaepernick as one of the faces of the “Just Do It” campaign last fall, it came as a surprise to everyone. Even so, Nike began to face some of the same public backlash that has plagued Kaepernick since he first knelt.
It’s what led Martin to pull Nike products from his store. He also sold some of it half priced.
"It's probably 40-50% of the store," Martin told KKTV last fall. "They are the exclusive dealer of the NFL jerseys. It’s all Nike.”
Months have passed and now the finances of it all have caught up with him.
"We had a really good Christmas season,” he told KKTV on Tuesday, “but it’s caught up to me.”
Martin also once canceled a Brandon Marshall autograph signing slated for his store because Marshall too knelt during the anthem.
Even so, Martin doesn’t want to be remembered for his stances against kneeling. He told local media he wants his store to be remembered for its wall of military heroes.