Fact Check

Did Nike Cut Ties with the Dallas Cowboys Over National Anthem Protests?

A "satirical" web site published a fake story about the sportswear company, which has in fact expressed support for players' right to protest.

Published Oct. 2, 2017

Image Via mimohe/Shutterstock.com
In September 2017, Nike cut ties with the Dallas Cowboys over national anthem protests.

Amid the ongoing controversy over National Football League players' protesting police violence during the national anthem, the "satirical" web site As American As Apple Pie falsely reported on 26 September 2017 that sportswear manufacturer Nike, Inc. had cut ties with the Dallas Cowboys:

The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner and traitor to those to whom he owes his freedom, Jerry Jones, lost the title of “America’s Team” along with the respect of millions of fans when they took ma knee to side with thuggery before the National Anthem last night. That decision, to play both sides and continue the divisiveness of Barack Obama, has now cost them dearly.

Nike, the largest athletic company and number one sponsor of professional sports in the world, has canceled all dealings with the Dallas Cowboys. Company CEO Isaac P. Freely told Fox Sports:

“To come out on the field and kneel to thugs and criminals just before saluting the flag was a reprehensible move our company won’t easily forgive. The Dallas Cowboys are no longer licensed to wear, display or sell merchandise with the Nike name or logo on it.”

The story is entirely fabricated. Nike has made no such decision, and thus there was no interview on Fox Sports with Isaac P. Freely, whose name was invented for comic effect.

The fake story came after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones locked arms with players and joined them in kneeling during the national anthem before a game against the Arizona Cardinals on 25 September 2017.

Not only has Nike not cut ties with Jones and the Cowboys over their protests, the company released a statement expressing support for the players' right to self-expression:

Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society.

This story, like everything published by As American As Apple Pie, is a work of fiction. The web site carries this tongue-in-cheek disclaimer about the veracity of its articles:

When no on can trust the lying fake news liberal media anymore because they hate us and guns and Harley Davidson and meat and OUR president. As American As Apple Pie is here to be your beacon of something you can kinda rely on sometimes but not really.


Astor, Maggie.  "How N.F.L. Sponsors Have Reacted to 'Take a Knee' Protests."    New York Times.  27 September 2017.

Dan Mac Guill is a former writer for Snopes.