Colin Kaepernick has been undoubtedly one of the most talked about figures in sports in the last two years. It all started on Aug. 26, 2016, in the San Francisco 49ers third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. He decided he wanted to bring awareness to the issue of the discrimination against people of color in America by peacefully protesting.
Originally Kaepernick’s idea for a peaceful protest to raise attention to the issue was to sit during the national anthem before all his games. Then, after having a conversation with Nate Boyer, an ex-Green Beret, Kaepernick instead began to kneel during the anthem, which Boyer suggested was a more respectful gesture. When Kaepernick first did this many people were shocked and a lot of people were upset. Some people believed that Kaepernick went about doing this in the wrong way and that there was a better way to protest.
Kaepernick stressed the fact that his protesting during the anthem had nothing to do with disrespecting the military. To this day the protests during the national anthem remains a controversial issue. While there are a lot of notable critics, including President Trump, who has criticized Kaepernick and other players for kneeling, there are others who support Kaepernick’s cause and message. Still others disagree with his protest while defending his right to do so.
While Kaepernick has been without an NFL team since 2016, he has remained under contract with Nike. Recently Nike made headlines when they launched a new advertisement to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their famous “Just Do It” campaign. The new Nike ad, which features Kaepernick and other athletes runs 2 minutes and 5 seconds long. During the commercial it shows a number of athletes other than Kaepernick, such as LeBron James, Shaquem Griffin, Serena Williams, and the US. Women’s national soccer team.
The main idea expressed throughout the commerical is to always follow your dreams no matter what people think. Nike also came up with a new slogan that Kaepernick said in the commercial. “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Although the ad includes many inspirational messages and examples, many Americans who disagree with Kaepernick and his protests during the anthem reacted to the ad by deciding to go on strike from buying Nike products. Some went as far as to burn their Nike apparel.
People are just going to keep viewing Kaepernick as either a bad person or someone who is trying to make a positive difference in America based on their political or ideological differences.
One thing is for sure though: Nike took a big risk investing in a polarizing figure like Kaepernick. According to USA Today, the risk has benefited the company, at least in the short term, as company shares were trading for as high as as high as $83.90 a share on Thursday, which broke a company record.
It will be very interesting to see if Kaepernick can continue to follow his dreams and make the change he wants in the future.