It's been a week since Nike's decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in their 30th Anniversary "Just Do It" campaign has some Americans, including President Trump in an uproar. Every since the company aired this controversial campaign, people across the U.S. are utterly divided.
Some people have opted to burn their Nike's, in the same fashion that Kaepernick haters decided to burn his jersey 2 years ago when his protest initially began. They are disgusted with Nike for siding with someone they see as a completely ungrateful anti-American.
On the contrary, many people, particularly Black Americans, are very pleased with Nike's decision to take a stand against injustice. Nike's Ad was meant to inspire people with challenges and handicaps to succeed, despite the many odds and obstacles they face daily.
Nike's choice not only to feature Kaepernick, but to also use him as the actual spokesperson for the entire campaign, is seen by many as nothing short of marketing genius. Also, the company's decision to run the Ad right at the onset of football season is surely no coincidence. It seems that Nike's plan was to stir as much emotion as possible.
Initially, with all the sock chopping and shoe burning, that followed the airing of the Ad, it seemed that Nike's gamble was working against their bottom line.
However, by Tuesday, Nike's online sales had jumped 31 percent (compared with 17 percent the year before during the same time period) and by the end of the week Nike had more than regained the drop in its stock.
No one should be that surprised at Nike's approach. This isn’t the first time they have used their brand as a platform to advocate for social change. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, etc. This commercial is the culmination of those sentiments. Nike has always had a progressive edge to their marketing.
What many find sad is that this ad is really very inspirational, but it's being treated like is the worst thing Nike has ever done, all because of Kaepernick's presence in the commercial.
The Power To Kneel
August 14th, 2016 marks the date that Kaepernick began sitting out the National Anthem in protest of police brutality. However, it was U.S. Army Veteran Nate Boyer and former Seattle Seahawks football player who influenced Kaepernick to actually take a knee instead of merely sitting. Nate Boyer is a retired American Green Beret.
Initially seeing Kaepernick sit during the Nation's Anthem really did not sit well with Boyer. So, on 30 August 2016, the Army Times published an open letter to Kaepernick from Nate Boyer stating how offended he (Boyer) was to see that Kaepernick refused to stand for the Anthem.
Following the publishing of the letter, Boyer and Kaepernick met to discuss the matter in person. This is where Boyer decided that Kaepernick's cause was indeed just. In light of this, Boyer suggested to Kaepernick that he kneel, rather than just sit during the anthem.
"We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammate. Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security."
The decision to kneel rather than sit was a political play designed to show that Kaepernick meant no disrespect to the American military, while simultaneously bringing more attention to the protest. Kneeling does after all, make a much more visual statement than just sitting down.
Even though Kaepernick has left the league, his presence is still felt as many players continue to kneel at every game.