Nike released a powerful campaign on Monday with Colin Kaepernick front and center making a bold statement:
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything #JustDoIt.”
The former San Francisco 49er’s simple black and white ad forces viewers to look head on into the eyes of the man who is leading the fight against police brutality.
Nike and Kaep have partnered since 2011, but this is the first time the company has embraced the activist movement. Kaepernick hasn’t played for the 49ers’s since 2016 and is suing the NFL for collusion to keep him from playing.
The ad was unleashed for the 30th anniversary of Nike’s first Just Do It campaign and Nike also released ads featuring Serena Williams, NFL receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and one-handed football player Shaquem Griffin, who made the Seattle Seahawks for the upcoming NFL season.
After the campaign was released, Williams responded to Kaepernick joining the campaign saying: “I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honored at how Colin and Eric (Reid) are doing so much more for the greater good. They really use their platform in ways that are unfathomable.”
Many people took to social media to praise Nike for taking such a strong stance behind Kaepernick who has faced heavy criticism for his advocacy.
But as expected, following the release of the campaign on September 3, clueless racists took to social media to air their dismay and burn their footwear or apparel with the Nike swoosh. Some Twitter users started the hashtags #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt with videos of burning footwear and apparel.
In 2016, Kaepernick explained to NFL Media: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. 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.”
Since then a number of players have shown their support by raising their fist or kneeling on the field. Kaepernick and Eric Reid have both been unable to find work in the NFL because of their protests and both players have filed collusion grievances against the league, citing a conspiring to keep them out because of their practical beliefs.
Last Thursday, an arbitrator ruled Kaepernick had enough evidence for his suit to proceed in a trial-like format, N.Y. Daily News reports.