Nike Takes A Knee With Kaepernick
Start writing a post
Politics

Nike Takes A Knee With Kaepernick

A recent campaign has premiered featuring the controversial ex-NFL star.

119
kaepernick

On Monday, Nike introduced their newest campaign starring the most politically divisive athlete in the world, Colin Kaepernick. The campaign began with a single black and white image featuring Kaepernick's determined expression with the maxim, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything," alongside Nike's longtime slogan "Just Do It." On Thursday, the campaign's first commercial featuring the ex-49ers quarterback will air during the premiere game of the 2018-19 NFL season. While Nike has consistently partnered with famous athletes for sponsorships throughout the company's 50+ year history, this campaign has been utterly unique in its impact across the political spectrum.


Kaepernick, despite spending six seasons with the San Fransisco 49ers including a 2013 Super Bowl appearance, rose to international fame for reasons that came off the field - or rather, just on the very edge. The young quarterback chose to kneel, rather than stand, for the national anthem during the 2015 NFL season as a silent protest against racial discrimination and police mistreatment of minorities. His political protest came on the heels of major incidents of police brutality, including the notable deaths of both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Spurred by the horror of those tragedies, Kaepernick began his quiet revolt using the stage he had. Other players in the NFL soon joined him in bringing light to the litany of ever-present issues facing American minorities.


Colin Kaepernick effectively used his celebrity to call attention to social justice but his protest came at a great personal cost. Despite coming just short of being named Time's Person of the Year in 2017, Kaepernick found himself out of an NFL job. Civil protests haven't slowed down across American sports leagues, notably including the Cavaliers' "I Can't Breathe" shirts, but Kaepernick found himself out of the spotlight for some time. With this incendiary new campaign, his name is back at the forefront of the American lexicon.


Nike's campaign has been met with immediate, fervent response from both sides of the political aisle. The topic of kneeling during the national anthem has been heavily politicized for some time now - conservatives bemoan the disrespect it reveals for veterans and the American flag while liberals view it as a reasonable protest meant to call attention to significant problems. From Trump's tweets and team owners' responses to widespread media coverage, the issue of kneeling during the anthem hasn't disappeared from our political debates. The reintroduction of Kaepernick - a polarizing figure - by a major company has reignited the conversation. Social media has been literally ablaze with images of Nike customers burning their products. Major athletes, on the other hand, have voiced their support for the campaign and its infamous spokesperson.


Make no mistake: this is a calculated move from Nike. Critics have pointed to a minor decline in Nike's stock price during the initial release of the campaign but the decrease was generally in line with industry movement at the same time. Nike, a corporate giant worth nearly $130 billion, makes no decision on a whim. As the apparel company looks to find younger market segments and build deep customer relationships, Kaepernick's quest for justice represented a tantalizing possibility. Young people, galvanized by the star's noble quest, will find themselves turning their morality into more cash in Nike's pockets. The company will certainly weather the storm of temporary backlash. In the long term, this campaign represents a clever marketing move to strengthen a customer base that already tends to agree with the stance of Nike's new de-facto spokesperson.


In 2018, our politics are ripe for companies looking to turn opinions into purchases. Nike may believe deeply in Kaepernick's cause; they may not. This is not the first campaign to prey on the deep political divide in America and it won't be the last. With guaranteed press coverage, sensationalized responses, and fiery conversations on social media, choosing to play the political game is a lucrative option for companies. While the future for Nike and Kaepernick is uncertain, there's one thing that everyone can count on - the circus of attention won't stop any time soon.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
relationships

I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend

I didn't know that you would stop doing the things that make you happy. The things everyone used to judge you for. You are the type of person who does things on YOUR terms and now they're on his.

2146
I Didn't Know That I Would Lose My Best Friend To Her Boyfriend
unsplash.com

As your best friend, all I ever want is for you to be happy. Because as best friends, we know exactly what makes the other happy. I know all your weird and quirky lingo. I know how much you hate certain foods and most of all, I know the things that are important to you in life.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine

You know YOU are not determined by your romantic status

6323
How to Celebrate Valentine's Day Without a Valentine
https://www.southbostontoday.com/celebrating-valentines-day-in-southie-next-thursday-of-course/

Although the most romantic and love-filled holiday is right around the corner, it's important to know that Feb.14, the middle day of the shortest month of the year, doesn't need to be determined by your current romantic status. With that being said, you can either choose to sulk over the fact that you're single or you can make the best out of Valentine's Day without even having one.

Here are a few ideas to celebrate the day:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

7 Fun Facts About The Eiffel Tower

The iconic landmark is reinventing itself with a splashy new color.

8654
Eiffel Tower

Soon, the 2024 Summer Olympics are coming to Paris, and the Eiffel Tower will be in the spotlight.

Embedded so much into Paris's identity, the iconic landmark is no stranger to historic events and world-class gatherings over the years. It is sure to shine again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

You don't just start as the person you are meant to be; there is a journey full of ups and downs that mold a person, so this is my journey.

6965
Blue Skies Weren't Always Blue

Overall I'd love to say I grew up a happy overly enthusiastic child that was taught to love herself and be loved by everyone else, but I can't say that and I never will. My smile wasn't always as bright as it is today, but this is the story behind my smile, the story about how I got here to the happiest place I'll ever be. I'll begin at freshman year of high school.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants

Just remember sometimes it is gonna hurt, whether we want it to or not!

8623
The Heart Wants what the Heart Wants
Where to start...... Let me start with the cliche that life throws us curveballs and what we do with it is what counts.

One day he walked into my life. UNEXPECTED! And one day he walked out!

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments