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Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Ad

Colin Kaepernick. (David Welker/Getty Images)

The new Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick has sparked outrageous amounts of controversy. Countless tweets voicing negative opinions about the ad have been posted to Twitter by some, and others have criticized the way some people are acting because of a new campaign for Nike.

Colin Kaepernick, the former starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, is the center of a controversy involving him kneeling on one knee instead of standing with his right hand against his heart during the National Anthem in the 2016 season.

He stated that this action was against racial injustice in the United States and police brutality. Kaepernick said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Football fans reacted differently to this action. Some had negative responses, stating that players who protest should be fired and some refused to watch future games.

Positive responses towards Kaepernick’s protest included other athletes in the NFL and American sports Leagues protesting the same way during the National Anthem. Terrell Suggs of the Baltimore Ravens, Leonard Fournette of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Rico Lavelle, a singer of the National Anthem during a Falcons vs. Lions game, all took a knee during the National Anthem.

After Kaepernick decided to become a free agent in 2016, he filed a grievance against the NFL in November, 2017, accusing them of colluding not to hire him.

People are completely boycotting Nike because of a new campaign for the company, which features a close up of Kaepernick’s face in black and white with the phrase, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This phrase ties back to the NFL reportedly trying to keep Kaepernick out of the league due to his protests against police brutality. The response to this new campaign is brutal. People utilized social media to voice their unsupportive opinions.

One tweet shows a video of Nike sneakers on fire with a caption saying, “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 National Anthem become offensive?”

The destruction of Nike merchandise seems barbaric. Nike is not losing anything the destruction of Nike sneakers or clothing because these people have already purchased the merchandise, and may even be advertising for Nike, even if they are not aware of it.

It is obvious that a colossal company such as Nike has done their research and was knowledgeable about this campaign gaining negative feedback. In their eyes, they may have thought the positive impacts of this campaign outweighed the negative impacts. I also believe that Colin Kaepernick was protesting something he felt strongly about.

According to the Huffington Post, “U.S. police killed at least 258 black people in 2016, according to a project by The Guardian that tracks police killings in America.” These statistics prove there is something very wrong in the United States. Kaepernick’s statement about knowing people are dying is a true statement, yet people act as though the reason he did not stand for the National Anthem was purely out of disrespect. Looking at the numerous deaths caused by police brutality, it was not out of disrespect, but purely a protest against horrendous events that go unnoticed by some individuals. Evidence of police brutality has been shown and consequently cannot be swept under the rug or ignored any longer.  

By taking a knee during the National Anthem, Kaepernick gained the attention he was aiming for by not staying silent, which is evident with his protest. By doing this, he started a string of similar protests. Other players went as far as taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Some may see this as disrespectful, which is understandable, but I see it as a way of gaining more public attention on an issue that must be addressed.

If there’s a company to boycott, try Walmart, H&M, or Gap, who have all been exposed for horrendous treatment in sweatshops, but not for Nike supporting a protest that must be heard. 

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