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Sports Column: Nike makes waves with new ad

Nike recently released an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, among other high profile athletes, for its 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign.

Sports Column: Nike makes waves with new ad
September 13
09:54 2018

Nike recently released an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, among other high profile athletes, for its 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign.  The sneaker company also announced Kaepernick will be the face for the campaign, which has many people upset to the point they are burning their Nike gear and swearing off the brand all together.

Nike made a bold move by making Kaepernick the face of the campaign, but I am sure the company was well aware of the risk and wanted to be on the right side of this debate. Reportedly, Adidas and Puma also offered contracts to the former NFL quarterback, but he decided to stay with Nike.

As we all know, Kaepernick became a national discussion piece when he began to kneel during the national anthem played before NFL Football games in 2016.  He has not played in the league since then and currently has a collusion case pending against NFL owners for keeping him out of the league.

Kaepernick released a photo from the ad on his Twitter page with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” last week, which had people talking.

Since the release of the ad, the attention paid to it has reached all the way to the White House. 

Of course our Commander-in-Chief had to weigh in on the subject, saying, “But I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there is a reason for them doing it,” in an interview with the Daily Caller.  “But I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent.  There’s no reason for it.”

To be fair, President Donald Trump did add the following: “As much as I disagree with the Colin Kaepernick endorsement, in another way, I mean, I wouldn’t have done it. In another way, it is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”

That has been my point all along.  He is peacefully protesting, which is a right that every American citizen has.  I think if people stop to hear his message instead of trying to twist the narrative, everyone will be better for it.

There have been hundreds of videos floating around the internet with people burning, cutting and throwing away their Nike gear in protest to the brand’s choice in Kaepernick.  I am confused as to why certain individuals are so upset with Nike choosing Kaepernick to be the face of the campaign.  I don’t see people condemning the Catholic Church for the actions of some of their priests, nor do I see people burning the gear of players who have committed crimes such as rape, assault, domestic violence, vehicular manslaughter or drug abuse.  Kaepernick did not committ any crime, yet he is vilified as if he did.

The hatred spewed toward Kaepernick since 2016 is totally unwarranted, in my opinion.  He knelt during the national anthem as a silent protest to the injustices people of color face on a daily basis in this country.  His protest had nothing to do with the flag or military.  The flag doesn’t stand for the military. In fact, it was a Green Beret veteran who convinced Kaepernick that it was better to kneel than sit for the national anthem in the first place.

I’m sorry, people, but you do not get to change the narrative to fit your agenda.  He knelt for a reason, which was not to disrespect the military, so people need to get over that.

When I first saw the ad, my first thought was that Nike was using Kaepernick to exploit him for financial gain.  Upon further thinking, I also thought they wanted to support the former quarterback in his efforts to bring his message to a wider audience.  Why can’t it be both?  Of course the company wants to turn a profit on this endeavor, but they also can be socially conscience by putting Kaepernick as the face of the campaign.  As I see it, this is a win-win for Nike and I’m sure the financial benefits will say the same when it’s all said and done.

Kudos to Nike for taking a bold leap. To those who say they are wrong for this move, continue to show your insensitivity to one of the issues plaguing people of color. I think the point is to force conversation so that action can take place, but if people keep denying the truth, we will always have protests.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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