HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Three million views later, Maurice Haynes hopes his message through the #NiketheWorldChallenge resonates with viewers. Thirty-one-year-old Haynes, of Prentiss, decided to “bless” shoppers at Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg with Nike apparel on Sept. 5.
“I had no idea,” said Haynes admitting he didn’t expect his video to go viral. “But, the reason I posted it was, because I was hoping maybe I could inspire someone else to do the same. If you show the world love, then it will make the world a better place.”
The gesture came after Nike, a multinational corporation, debuted NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick as the face of their 2018 “Just Do It” campaign on Sept. 4. His decision to kneel during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the 2016 football season triggered an outcry of calls for Nike to drop its sponsorship.
“I just really wanted to bless someone with Nike’s that day, because after Nike made Colin Kaepernick the face of their brand, I mean that said a lot,” Haynes said. “That really said a lot for what he stood for, which is equality.”
The former San Francisco 49er quarterback continues to endure backlash from those against his commitment to protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
“All he’s saying is that it’s a problem in the United States,” said Haynes. “Now, the way he did it, some people may question it. But, at the same time, where we’re at in the world and what’s going on with all of the police brutality and people just getting off and they’re not facing the consequences--- you have to go to such measures. So, for him to do that, that just took courage and for them (Nike) to back him that showed them a lot that they believed in him and what he stands for--- equality.”
Haynes posted a video to his Facebook page walking up to what appeared to be a homeless man sitting outside of the mall. In the video, Haynes asked “Marcus” if he wanted some Nike’s and what size shoe he wears with him responding by saying a “12.”
“I had it on my heart that morning and I just did it that afternoon,” said Haynes.
Throughout the video, he’s seen buying families with children Nike apparel and shoes. One mother was so overwhelmed by his kind act, that she teared up in the mall with her children by her side. Despite people’s contempt for Kaepernick’s stance, Haynes hopes people will stand with Nike and support the brand.
“…I said in order for you to receive blessings you ought to just bless somebody,” Haynes said. “So, I said today I’m just going to bless someone I don’t know with some random Nike gear and I was glad I was able to touch those people.”
Since Nike’s announcement of Colin Kaepernick as the face of their campaign, the company’s shares of shoes and athletic wear have hit a record high of 31 percent per Edison Trends.