Among the many unwanted news that circulated online following Nike’s announcement in September 2018 that controversial free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be part of the 30th anniversary “Just Do It” advertising campaign of the company, there were articles that played on the idea of disgruntled consumers ‘burning their Nike-branded shoes and other apparel. One prankster, for example, created a widely circulated Facebook post that made it look like he had suffered severe burns to his feet by setting his Nike shoes on fire while he was wearing them.
In a similar vein, the Huzlers website published an article claiming that a Florida man accidentally burned down his house while trying to burn a pair of Nike sneakers to protest the inclusion of Colin Kaepernick in its ad campaign. :
Authorities say Jason Helms, 26, placed a pair of Nike sneakers in his garage and soaked them in kerosene before setting them on fire. The fire eventually spread to the walls and ceiling of the garage before spreading to its current home. All in protest at Nike, which recently ran an ad featuring controversial NFL star Colin Kaepernick and reading, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything… Do it.” “Don’t burn your Nike gear,” said police officer Don Greestien, “just send them to me.”
The same story was also posted on other sites, but with the change of scenery from Florida to Rochester and Bartlesville, but all of these reports were false, just mere fabrications.
Huzlers is a junk news site that describes itself as “the world’s most infamous fake tire and satire entertainment website”, and the other geographic variants of the story were posted on fake news sites. news that mimics the look and feel of real news outlets such as Fox News Channel and USA Today.