Sitting and ka-chinging…Many businesses profit from Colin Kaepernick

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

He sits during the national anthem. He protests racial injustice and police violence. He causes a stir. Some take sides. Other athletes sit too. President Obama weighs in.

What happens next? People start buying his stuff.

Sure, he’s just a backup quarterback. And he just came off a terrible season. But that doesn’t seem to matter. Colin Kaepernick has created a huge controversy.  And both brick and mortar and online merchants that sell sporting goods are ringing up the sales.

According to reports, Dick’s Sporting Goods said Kaepernick’s uniform shirt was the league’s seventh-best seller for the past week. It was 33rd for the period going all the back to the 2016 NFL draft.  NBC Sports reports his jersey sales on the NFL shop are “skyrocketing since he took his stance,” with his white jersey the number-one bestseller and his red jersey as the number-six bestseller. ESPN confirmed that the quarterback’s jersey was the top seller among all his teammates. “A source with knowledge of sales numbers confirmed to ESPN that more Kaepernick gear was sold last week on the team site than the past eight months combined,” the sports network reported.

Maybe people are taking sides. Maybe some are just buying the jerseys as collectors items. Others want them to burn. Who knows and who cares – little of this matters to the merchants ringing up sales.

Take a quick look online now and you’ll see a proliferation of small firms selling anything Kaepernick – from towels to stand-up figures to beer can coolers. Are all of them officially licensed?  Where there’s controversy, there’s money to be made. And where there’s money to be made there will always be smart entrepreneurs ready to jump on the opportunity.

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