To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, Nike announced on Monday that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be a spokesperson for the campaign.
Not surprisingly, the exciting announcement was met with jeers from conservatives, whose right-wing beliefs clash with athletes who protest against police brutality, racism, and social injustice.
To denounce the latest collaboration between Nike and Kaepernick, Trump supporters responded with a movement to boycott Nike by burning the sneakers that have fallen out of step with their MAGA views.
One man on Twitter, nicknamed “Mustard,” took that act of defiance a step further by setting his Nikes ablaze while still wearing them.
Which led him to update his followers with the dire consequences of such a feat: a trip to the hospital.
Warning: there’s a graphic photo of a pair of severely burnt feet.
i am in the hospital pic.twitter.com/b9JmlE77EQ— Phil Braun (@playazball) September 4, 2018
It appeared that “Mustard” had fused himself to the very company he was trying so desperately to separate himself from when some of the pieces from the sneakers became grafted to his feet as a result of the flames.
“Docter says I may lose them anyway so I may just have them amputated,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
People had plenty to say over “Mustard”‘s failed boycott.
How tf are you gonna stand for the national anthem now Phil— ᴱᵈʷᵃʳᵈ (@JordanWoodard6) September 4, 2018
DUDE TAKE THEM OFF FIRST!!!!!!!!!— DODI (@OdazzleRulez) September 4, 2018
Mustard knows what real sacrifice is!— Amy ? (@amylopan) September 4, 2018
Well you know the common sense thing to do would have been to take them OFF first! Oh...second common sense thing would be to protest by not purchasing Nike gear...NOT destroying what you already own! Either way you lost this round...smdh— Sandra Abrams (@piscesprncess76) September 5, 2018
As much as people had a field day commenting over the idiotic stunt, Internet sleuths revealed the whole thing was a hoax.
“Mustard”‘s real name is Phil Braun. He is a writer and an online comedian who supports Nike’s decision to team up with Kaepernick.
The picture of the burnt feet are not his.
According to Snopes, the burned victim’s feet belong to an unidentified patient at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, Australia.
The photograph was made available as early as March 2017 on the Victorian State Trauma System website.
I was convinced he burned his feet for a moment.— Totally not Seb Gorka (@AlphaMaleDrG) September 4, 2018
As Braun himself confirmed in yet another tweet:
These are my real feet https://t.co/HgQVsQ0Alr— Phil Braun (@playazball) September 4, 2018
Braun told the Daily Dot that his fake post was “satirizing those on the right who are protesting Nike in this case, by mocking their form of ‘protest.'”
“The fact that people think this is something that might be real is quite telling about our society right now. My post is really more of a commentary on how stupid I think they are, by pretending to be stupid myself.”
“I fully support Colin Kaepernick’s right to protest, and support his cause to create dialogue about race.”
i have been laughing for the past 20mins this is the funniest thing i’ve seen in a long time— bia (@thatqueenbianca) September 4, 2018
I hear ya, don't get the purpose of putting this out like it's you who's doing it and then debunk your own post.— Kyle Ruggles (@kyleruggles) September 5, 2018
What is the purpose? what lesson are you trying to show? I dunno.
But I hope y'all find peace.
I could've let it roll...but there were too many people who never bothered to think it was a joke. If you read my statement you might understand my purpose. 1. I like making people laugh. 2. These protestors are wrong/stupid.— Phil Braun (@playazball) September 5, 2018
Braun’s joke blurring the lines of reality did not go unnoticed by this Twitter user.
Serious kudos @playazball— Michael Tannenbaum (@iamTannenbaum) September 4, 2018
Seriously I’ve just spent way too long going down the Twitter rabbit hole trying to find out who this dude is and if this is real!— BlackberriesandAstronauts (@Blackberriesan1) September 4, 2018
My head hurts. If it’s real the stupidity made my day, if it’s a joke it still made my day??♀️!
He's a very funny guy. Been following him on the twitterer for about a year.— Andy Hards (@andyhards) September 5, 2018
Meanwhile, the actual burning of Nike apparel continues as part of the boycotting movement.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick inspired other athletes to “take a knee” in protest during the National Anthem to demonstrate against police brutality that has claimed the lives of many unarmed African Americans.
The new ad features a closeup of the star athlete with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” which is in reference to the NFL allegedly colluding to keep him off the field because of his demonstrations.
Donald Trump, however, sees taking a knee as an act of violation disrespecting the American flag and the country.