Nike’s Newest Approach


In 2016, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to initiate a movement that would cause a nationwide discussion, changing political landscape forever. He chose to visibly kneel during one of the nation’s most prized possessions: the national anthem.

The country was quite literally split in two—some thought his actions were inappropriate for the job he held and disrespectful to the military’s hard work, while others believed he was a real-world hero for standing up for his beliefs and not worrying about the public’s response.

Kaepernick ended up filing a collusion lawsuit against his former league, the NFL, after feeling he had been blackballed out of a job because of his controversial views. In August 2018, the NFL lost a summary judgment against Kaepernick to have his case dismissed. In addition, his name was removed in several songs on the soundtrack of Madden NFL 19, leading many to believe that the NFL told them to do so.

Nike just recently decided to make Kaepernick the cover of their most recent advertisement that states, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The advertisement is a roughly two minute video, voiced by Kaepernick himself, of different people trying to overcome challenges in their respective desires despite social, economic, or cultural barriers.

Some examples are given to the audience, including the 23x Grand Slam Title winner Serena Williams and the 3x NBA champion Lebron James both accomplishing feats that may have been considered outlandish before they were achieved.

Campaigning Kaepernick as the lead narrator is an immense statement for such a large company to make, especially considering the wide-ranging political opinions of their customers. Nike is quite literally forcing the country’s hand on their views on true patriotism and is keeping a stronghold on one of the country’s most powerful associations. Such large corporations with such global presence and influence generally didn’t take such a direct stance on such a divisive topic in years past, but that is exactly what Nike has done.

The widespread opinions discussing this advertisement have been noted in abundance, across many platforms.

Clay Travis, a writer for USA Today, wrote the headline: “Why I’m boycotting Nike. Get woke and go broke”. LZ Granderson, of CNN, wrote under an article with the headline “The hypocrisy of the Nike outrage” that he wonders how the same people that take offense to Kaepernick being chosen for this powerful advertisement instead of military veterans can support President Trump, a person with “well-documented slights of service-members who have sacrificed the most.”

These viewpoints show different perspectives to the same idea, none of them being incorrect. No matter what side is taken personally, one has to realize that Kaepernick is sparking a powerful and much needing discussion in our country.

One needs to think that the United States of America, as a whole, is much more open to change than it was hundreds of years ago. This openness is seemingly growing by the day, right in front of all the citizens’ eyes. It is an openness that needed to be discussed, especially in the nation’s current state of distress.

The United States of America, as a whole, truly is much different than it was when it was founded almost 250 years ago. There have been 27 amendments, and the citizens ultimately just have more modern mindsets because the world changes. However, under all of these changes is a core system of values that has remained quite unchanged since the country’s upbringing.

Throughout the country’s history, there have been many occasions and time periods where those that have felt wronged protested and ultimately brought about change. Is Kaepernick’s case any different? Should he be shunned because he voiced his opinion in a way that was not previously done on such a visible stage? Or should he be revered for his bravery towards portraying his feelings about oppression in a way that was peaceful but powerful?

Ultimately, it is up to the citizens to make this decision. Nevertheless, just make sure to look at Kaepernick’s protest in the right light and under the right circumstances.