On Monday, September 3rd, Nike unveiled Colin Kaepernick as the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign, using the caption:
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The campaign, which also features Serena Williams, NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, a rookie linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks whose left hand was amputated when he was a child, however, did not have too welcoming a reception with Kaepernick as the frontman.
The former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has been a pariah in the NFL and a target for conservative minds ever since he decided to protest police shootings of unarmed black men by kneeling during the national anthem.
And even though, time and time again, he’s emphasized that the protest has nothing to do with the anthem itself, people continue to trip.
After Monday’s announcement, several individuals, in the name of patriotism, took to the internet to show themselves burning Nike apparel to #BoycottNike while others voiced their outrage in statements.
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alteratyeshiva) September 4, 2018
.@Nike how you going to endorse @Kaepernick7 a person that advertises socks with cops portrayed as pigs, a person that hasn’t played NFL for 2 years, well it’s good I never really spent money on your brand but to the money I did, here they are pic.twitter.com/oHFVgDnR4K
— Sebastian Blanco (@thasaviorBlanco) September 3, 2018
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
A day later and it seems that there has been some effect, at least in the market. Reports say Nike shares were marked 2.5% lower in the opening minutes of trading on Wall Street — the biggest decline since July 3.
Nike’s decision to stand behind Colin may appear as a political one, but, if anything, it’s on brand. This then leaves the question: what are the people who stand behind #BoycottNike protesting, really?
There are conspiracists who say Kaepernick has been in it for the money and that this deal further proves it but Kaepernick has been sponsored by Nike since 2011, long before he ever took a knee. Why wouldn’t they stand by their client?
Y'all have set so much swaggerless Nike apparel aflame. I ain't seen nann bit of drip in none of these clips.
— 🦦✨America Is Musty✨🦦 (@DragonflyJonez) September 4, 2018
Besides, after being called an “SOB” by the President, not getting called in for a workout after a statistically decent season (2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions while also rushing for 468 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games) and being publically villainized, Kaepernick continues his fight for social equality regardless.
If that’s not on par with ‘just doing it’, I’m not sure what is.
So why are people so up in arms about the Nike/Kaepernick deal? Why is Colin’s quiet protest such a crime, even after veterans have given their blessing? Why not hear what he has to say, instead of being up in arms over how he’s saying it?
The #NikeBoycott is both a blessing and a curse because, on one hand, you hate to see anyone have a negative reaction to Colin Kaepernick doing well when all he’s been is nothing more than a stand-up citizen and human being. But on the other hand, it shows the bias and bigotry that lies in each and every one of his critics.
Out of everything Nike has been associated with — from overworked and underpaid child workers to outsourcing American jobs — this is the issue that calls for the cancellation of their goods?
Nike’s announcement also presents a dilemma for the NFL, who extended their partnership with the company for another eight years earlier this year in March.
Now, a league whose owners decided that players will no longer be allowed to take a knee during the playing of the national anthem will have all 32 of their teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that bears the logo that backs the man that inspired the rule.
According to Yahoo’s Charles Robinson, Kaepernick will have his own exclusive Nike clothing line, complete with shoes, apparel and more.
Details on Kaepernick and #Nike:
– It’s wide endorsement. He’s going to have his own branded line. Shoes, shirts, jerseys, etc. There will be Kaepernick apparel.
– Contract is a “star” deal on par with a top end #NFL player. Millions per year. Star deals also include royalties.
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 3, 2018
People #BoycottingNike aren’t mad about the respect of the flag, the troops, or the country. They’re mad that someone decided not to play by the rules. They’re mad that someone isn’t staying in their place, and the outrage reveals that. They’re just big mad.
Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club’s Charlemagne, said it best on his Instagram:
“Instead of throwing away your Nike gear, give to one of the millions of homeless veterans you pretend to care about.”
Stop using Patriotism to disguise your prejudice for black and brown people. If you cared so much about veterans then how come you ignore them when they walk up to your car asking for a little change? Military Veterans should get free housing, they shouldn’t have to pay taxes, free healthcare, and they should get a check every month to pay their bills and put food on the table but since they don’t the least you can do is stop ignoring them when you see them homeless and downtrodden in the street. How patriotic are you really??
The people who are boycotting Nike over the Colin Kapernick deal are doing nothing more than reminding everyone just how ugly this country is and can be, further proving why Colin was right in kneeling in the first place.