Nike makes progressive statement with Kaepernick ad collaboration

Avery Goodstine

By Avery Goodstine

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, then the quarterback for the San Francisco 49er’s, knelt for the National Anthem before a football game, sparking the rightful nationwide protest against racial injustice and police brutality. Now, an endorsement deal between Kaepernick and Nike has incited more debate and a possible boycott of Nike’s products.

Nike’s famous, “Just Do It” campaign commercial, narrated by Kaepernick, was released Labor Day afternoon to celebrate Nike’s 30th anniversary.

Along with Kaepernick, the commercial highlights other famous athletes of color including Serena Williams, LeBron James, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Seattle Seahawks’ one-handed rookie linebacker Shaquem Griffin, as well as other disabled athletes.

In the commercial, Kaepernick begins by saying, “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, then good. Calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.”

He continues on to say, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” alluding to his right to kneel during the National Anthem.

The message Nike is sending is undoubtedly a great one.

Due to the controversy surrounding Kaepernick, people have claimed they will be boycotting Nike, some even burning their Nike gear; however, Nike’s sales have increased 31 percent-and rightfully so. Since the debut of the Kaepernick commercial, Nike has almost doubled last year’s sales increase during the same time, according to NBC.

Shortly after the ad came out, Trump was quick to show his disapproval on Twitter in a very “Trump-like” way.

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way,” tweeted Trump two days after the commercial was shown.

Clearly, Nike did have “any idea it would be this way,” considering the large spike in their sales right after the ad premiered.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Trump said, “[The ad] sends a terrible message,” but how could something advocating for equality in athletics be terrible?

Nike tackling this issue is not an anomaly, especially with the brand always collaborating with famous athletes to send positive messages.

After all, Nike’s target audience is today’s Millennials or younger children, so using athletes who resonate with that age group, like Kaepernick, should not come as a shock to the public.

This isn’t the first time Nike has used its influence to advocate for social change. In the past, Nike has advocated for people with AIDS, gender inequality, religion, and disabilities. This time is no different.