On Monday Nike announced it was making Colin Kaepernick the face of it’s “Just Do It” campaign. It’s reported that the profits made from the merchandise sold during this campaign will be donated to his charity “Know Your Rights”. The move by Nike set social media and news networks on fire. Even though Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016 Nike kept him under contract. Kaepernick has been an endorser of Nike since coming into the NFL in 2011.
This is a very interesting move by Nike since they are partnered with the NFL and supply all 32 teams with game day jerseys and apparel.
Nike’s announcement sparked the hashtag Boycott Nike on twitter making it the highest trending topic. Several videos of white men and ex-servicemen destroying and burning their Nike apparel were posted on social media. One man even burned his shoes while on his feet giving himself severe burns to his feet, his own feet!
The Black Dot the author of Hip-Hop decoded has coined a phrase called the “sunken place”, which means people are worried about the wrong things and not focused on the big picture. The Nike campaign has everyone in a “sunken place”. It’s always fascinating to me how certain events that in the grand scheme of things have no significance, but create so much hysteria take center stage.
What gets lost in this whole story is that the NFL did not Institute a policy requiring players to be present on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem until 2009. Before that players stayed in the locker room during the playing of the anthem. Nobody was criticizing players back then it was not even a thought until Kaepernick decided to protest back in 2016. One may ask what has changed? Did the NFL all of sudden get more patriotic? Of course, not The Department of Defense and the National Guard shelled out millions of dollars to the NFL so they could be featured on the field before the game during the playing of the national anthem, and also during games.
People also forget when Kaepernick started protesting he was originally sitting on the bench during the anthem. Several veterans reached out to him through social media to talk with him. They wanted to express to him that they thought his decision to sit during the anthem was disrespectful to their service and sacrifice they made for the country. They came to an agreement that he could kneel, that way he’s present for the anthem and exercising his right to protest.
Which brings me to my next point do we as a society even remember what he was protesting? It was the shootings by the police of unarmed Black men. It had nothing to do with the anthem, which is racist by the way when you know all the lyrics, but that is a different discussion for another day. In classic fashion in this country instead of addressing the issues dealing with race and white supremacy the discussion became about the flag and standing for the anthem, and once again the death of black men was cast aside and put on the back burner.
It’s been two years since Kaepernick took a knee, and the NFL is getting ready to start another season this Sunday. Kaepernick is currently suing the NFL for collusion, and recently an arbitrator decided in favor of Kaepernick. The case will not be dismissed and now will proceed to the next step in litigation. We will have to wait and see how all this plays out and the effects of this campaign will have on the partnership between Nike and the NFL. Nike had to realize that there was going to be some backlash, and that the campaign could negatively effect their business relationship with the NFL.
Blacks have taken to social media also to show their support for Nike and Nike’s decision to stand with Kaepernick. Before we go getting too excited about Nike's support of Kaepernick, and appearing to throw their hat in the ring in support of this social issue. Do I have one question for Nike where was your support for Kaepernick two years ago when he first took the knee? Why come out now in support of Kaepernick? Why was it kept a secret that Kaepernick was still being paid by Nike? In my opinion, Nike had to crunch the numbers and realized this campaign will be good business. When you are talking about a corporation that is an athletic conglomerate that dominates the world I find it hard to believe that this is not a business decision first. At the end of the day, Nike is here to make money not be at the forefront of social issues.
Once again gauging by the reaction of some of white America to this ad campaign by Nike, and the current political climate in this country it is painfully obvious that people are purposely trying divide people based on race. It is obvious there is a race problem in this country. In this present climate, it is only going to get worse before it gets better. The disturbing thing about all of this is that the people can’t see that media and especially social media is being used an attempt to start a race war. If that’s the case we all need to wake up and fix this problem of race before it’s too late. Salute to Kaepernick for sticking to his beliefs, and being a positive role that everyone should embrace.