Nike came out in support of the players’ right to protest in the public showdown between President Trump and players who refuse to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

In a brief statement, Nike said: “Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society.”

On Saturday at a rally in Alabama, President Donald Trump encouraged NFL team owners to fire “son of a bitch” NFL players who kneel during the national anthem. On Sunday, many players took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of Trump’s comments.

Nike became the first NFL sponsor to take a side in the controversy.

Under Armour sent out a tweet on Saturday stating, “@UnderArmour stands for the flag and by our Athletes for free speech, expression and a unified America.”

Ford said on Monday, “We respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share.”

Most sponsors have not addressed the issue.

With Trump calling for a boycott of the NFL’s games, Nike risks some consumers refusing to buy and some fans said they would do so on social media. Nike’s move has also attracted some favorable comments on social media.

Photo courtesy Nike