Maurice Haynes is the Hattiesburg, Mississippi man who went to his local mall on September 6 and decided to “Nike the world” by buying Nike gear for anyone he found in need. Haynes, in an emotional message on his Facebook page, talked about how inspired he was by Colin Kaepernick and his protest against racism and police brutality. He said Kaepernick had motivated him to try and do something for others who had less than he did — and he asked others to join him.
The video Haynes posted of his Nike giveaway went viral, racking up millions of views and giving rise to thousands of comments on social media.
Here’s what you need to know about Maurice Haynes:
1. Haynes’s First Step Was Buying Sneakers For a Homeless Man — From There, He Bought Clothes for Kids
Haynes put on a Kaepernick jersey and went to his local mall in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on September 6. You can see the whole thing in a video he posted to Facebook, here. He saw a homeless man sitting outside the mall and asked him what size shoes he wore; the man told him size 12. So Haynes went in and bought a pair of size 12 Nikes and some socks saying, “Nike sales just went up” –and he brought them back outside. The man seemed too flabbergasted to speak, but he started putting the socks and shoes on right away.
Next, Haynes spoke to a mother with two small children and asked if she would let him buy a few things for the kids. He picked out a pink sweatsuit for the girl, and a pair of sneakers for the little boy. He bought clothes for another family too.
The kids were visibly thrilled, and the mothers were overwhelmed — they kept saying, “thank you — I sure do thank you,” as if they didn’t quite know how to respond to the unexpected act of generosity.
2. Haynes Recorded an Emotional Video Explaining Why He Did What He Did
When Haynes got him, he posted a video to his Facebook page, explaining why he went out and bought Nike gear for all of those strangers. You can watch the full video here.
Haynes said, “As crazy as this may sound, I believe we have a chance to do something that’s never be done before…I feel what that man CK is doing, and that’s why I did that to those people. That man sacrificed everything he had. He had the League, and they kicked him out. But Nike said we ain’t cutting you loose, you didn’t do nothing wrong. And they’re right.
This is what I want you to do. If you really in your heart f*** with me, put on a Nike shirt. And hashtag, Nike the world challenge. That’s going to bring a buzz. And we have a chance.”
3. Haynes Says He Is “Living His Best Life’ With the Woman He Hopes to Marry
Haynes’ Facebook page is full of loving words for Chandra Minor, Haynes’ girlfriend and the woman who, he says, will one day become his wife. Minor recently became the first African American female orthodontist in Mississippi.
She and Haynes can be seen on Facebook dancing, goofing off, or traveling together.
4. Haynes Asked All His Followers to Take a Picture Wearing a Nike Shirt
Haynes spent the afternoon at the mall, buying Nike shoes and clothing for people in need. When he got home, he recorded a heartfelt, teary video explaining how moved he’d been by Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police brutality and racism.
Haynes called on his followers to put on a Nike shirt and take a picture of themselves — and then share the picture, using the hashtag #Niketheworldchallenge.
Nike rolled out a new ad featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick last week. The ad features a black and white photo of Kaepernick with the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” written across his face. Haynes said he was inspired by Kaepernick who, he said, had sacrificed everything — especially his career in the NFL — to take a stand for what he believes in.
5. Meanwhile, Many Conservatives are Protesting the Kaepernick Ad by Boycotting Nike
As soon as Nike rolled out the Kaepernick ad, conservatives around the country announced a boycott against Nike products. Some went so far as to burn their Nike sneakers on camera, and then post the video on social media. The anti-Nike protesters said they were angry that Nike was ignoring them and their beliefs; many of them said they did not believe that Kaepernick had, in fact, sacrificed anything — from their point of view, it’s soldiers and police officers who make the true sacrifices, and they were offended at what they saw as Kaepernick’s disrespect towards the military and the police.
You can read more about the anti-Nike protest here.