Following the lead of several large retailers and other companies, Nike announced Saturday that it will stop selling an assault-style rifle aimed at runners.
The Nike Epic-AR, which was unveiled with much fanfare at last summer's Outdoor Retailer Show, is emblazoned with the Nike swoosh and equipped with the company's much-ballyhooed React foam to soften the weapon's recoil. It was never a huge seller, the company acknowledged in a statement, though it's not unusual to see the Nike-branded weapon at local 5Ks and fun runs, particularly in rural areas.
While the statement did not explain why Nike was discontinuing the product, experts said it was clearly in response to recent headlines and increased consumer scrutiny of stores that sell guns or that have relationships with companies that do.
"They didn't explicitly mention Delta, or REI, or any other company that has cut ties with the gun industry," said Charles Norris, an analyst with Walker & Ranger, a Texas-based think tank. "But they didn't need to."
"I'll be honest," Norris added, "semiautomatic, assault-style rifles were a bit of an odd fit for Nike in the first place."
Adidas, Brooks, Saucony, and Under Armour did not respond to requests for comment on their own lines of branded firearms.