Nike takes the knee to Kaepernick with “Just Do It” ad


Taken From Brook Ward on flickr

Colin Kaepernick on sidelines

John Shay, Staff Reporter

Founded in 1964, Nike is one of the biggest sportswear brands today. They make player jerseys for the NBA and NFL, and there are rumors that they may be the official jersey providers for the MLB come 2020. They sponsor big name basketball players including LeBron James, Michael Jordan, and Kobe Bryant.

For Nike’s new “Just Do It” ad, they featured NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. This is the same quarterback that, in 2017, kneeled during the national anthem to protest, with a goal of showing support for the movement against the oppression of people of color in the US.

I do not condone racism towards people of color in the US, and I think that part of our freedom in this country involves being able to stand up for what is right. However, I do not think that protesting by kneeling during our national anthem during a football game is the right way to protest.

Racism has been an ongoing problem in our country for an extremely long time now. Discrimination towards people of color is a common problem, not only in the US, but around the world. Protesting is one way to help fight against this problem, but it should be done in the right setting in order for it to be effective.

Protesting is a completely justifiable action, but I do not think the football field is the platform people should be using, especially when the national anthem is being played. I believe standing during the national anthem is more to show respect for the soldiers that risked their lives to ensure our safety and freedom rather than to praise our country and the president. I do not think kneeling and showing disrespect during the national anthem will help change anything when it comes to racism, and I do not think the way Kaepernick protested was right.

Despite the major controversy with Kaepernick kneeling during our national anthem, Nike still thought that he would be a good role model and cover athlete for their “Just Do It” ad. I personally do not agree with this decision. Many of the athletes that represent the Nike brand, such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, are figures that many children look up to and aspire to be like. Adding Kaepernick to this list of inspirational athletes is definitely adding an outlier to that list. People buy Nike products because they want to be seen as cool or successful, much like the athletes that represent Nike, and I do not think Kaepernick is a good person for kids to use as a role model.

This isn’t to say that teaching the young to stand up to racism is bad, because I certainly think that kids should be able to see that discrimination is a problem that needs to be solved in our country. In that regard, I think using Kaepernick as the cover athlete for the “Just Do It” ad could be a good thing, but I do not think that showing kids that you can disrespect our soldiers and the national anthem to protest is a good thing. Protesting in that way is not an effective way to protest against racism. It may draw a lot of attention, but it is not going to change anything.

This decision by Nike is not going to get me to stop buying their products, and I do not think that it will hurt their sales. It might even help their sales, which I think is the main reason they made Kaepernick the face of their ad. They most likely think that bringing in a standout athlete will draw more attention to their brand and, in turn, bring more customers.

Although the new ad may cause a spike in sales for Nike, I fear for the fact that children may now start to use Kaepernick as someone to look up to, since he has disrespected our anthem and the soldiers that fight every day to make sure we are as safe as possible. Protesting against racism is not a bad thing, but handling it by kneeling for our national anthem during an NFL game is immature and disrespectful. The event and the new Nike Ad will likely only cause our country to become more divided rather than take a stand against racism.