Well, I suddenly feel like buying a new pair of Nike shoes.
Darren Rovell of ESPN first reported that Nike had selected former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Using the headline, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” is a pleasant surprise for the former 49ers quarterback, and his supporters, who has been shunned by the NFL and those following a false rhetoric after he began a movement of kneeling during the United States national anthem to protest racial injustice in August 2016.
The first print ad from Nike, one of the league’s top partners, debuted Monday afternoon from longtime ad agency Wieden and Kennedy, when Kaepernick tweeted it, assuring that his activism and the protest movement against racism and social injustice he started would continue to loom over one of the country’s most powerful sports leagues.
A Nike spokeswoman stated in an email that the ad is part of a broader campaign by Wieden & Kennedy that commemorates the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” tagline and includes other athletes such as Serena Williams. Kaepernick first announced the ad in a tweet seen below:
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, Nike will produce new Kaepernick apparel, including a shoe and a t-shirt, and if the merchandise sells well. Apparently, the Kaepernick, who has been with Nike since 2011, renegotiated his deal after rival shoe companies approached him.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told Steve Wyche of NFL Media about the decision two years ago. “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.”
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the Niners in March 2017 and hasn’t been able to find a new team since. An April visit with the Seattle Seahawks was postponed after he did not assure the franchise he’d stand for the anthem if signed, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The 30-year-old quarterback filed a collusion grievance against the league, which claimed he was being kept out of the league because of the protests he started. His argument received a boost last week when arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank ruled there was enough evidence to require a full hearing.
As of this writing, Nike stock just lost about $3.75 billion in market cap. This according to Yahoo news. Shares of NKE stock dropped about 4 percent on Tuesday morning, as #NikeBoycott has been trending on Twitter.
A poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released last week showed 54 percent of respondents deemed kneeling during the anthem “inappropriate,” while 43 percent called it “appropriate.” Response to the tweet (120k and counting) supports that poll as seen below:
Seriously @Nike ?! You may want to revisit your criteria for what constitutes “sacrificing everything” #JustDoIt @warwickripd @LivePDNation @OnTheAirWithPIC @OfficialLivePD @CurleyWpd @LivePdFans @LadiesOfLivePD @LivePdFantasyLG #LivePD pic.twitter.com/XOudElFmgB
— Officer Jill Marshall (@officer_jill) September 3, 2018
This is what bravery looks like. @Kaepernick7 is a hero. @Nike is a corporate hero for making Kaepernick the face of their latest #JustDoIt campaign. The NFL star has faced selective blacklisting since he took a knee during the national anthem last year. May he now rise. https://t.co/hViwLyHyUr
— BEN PATRICK JOHNSON (@benpatrick90069) September 3, 2018
— George Wrighster III (@georgewrighster) September 3, 2018
That Colin Kaepernick is still not on an NFL roster is reprehensible… But for Nike to actually acknowledge an athlete who cares about social justice instead of just sneakers is commendable… #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/VGb8iwC5wh
— Cyrus McQueen (@CyrusMMcQueen) September 3, 2018
In a time where big money companies drop sponsorships to athletes on the daily for fear of public backlash, #Nike realized that in the USA doing the right thing matters. They also said F**k you @realDonaldTrump #justdoit https://t.co/zaJnsxRCwZ
— Damone Edwards (@damone_edwards) September 3, 2018
“You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.”
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Nike embraces Serena & Kaepernick, two of the culture’s most powerful athletes, with voices that transcend their sports pic.twitter.com/yJn6WUuw1x
— Aaron Dodson (@aardodson) September 3, 2018
Nike will also donate money to Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” campaign. Just do it. What do you think? Post your thoughts below.
Source: Bleacher Report
Contact Colin Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.