In 2016, Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem for the first time. That year, Kaepernick told the NFL that he chose to kneel during the national anthem because he was “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” according to an interview with the NFL. Now Kaepernick is the face of the new Nike Advertisement, which has caused protest all over the country.
On September 7, Nike aired its new advertisement for the 30 year anniversary of the ‘Just Do It’ campaign during the third quarter of the opener of the NFL. The advertisement focuses on different major athletes such as LeBron James, Serena Williams, and other while having the background voice of Kaepernick. Throughout the advertisement, Kaepernick attempts to inspire other athletes to dream big and work hard for their dreams no matter what. At the end of the end, Nike ends with their famous slogan ‘Just Do It’ to promote the idea of reaching crazy dreams.
The advertisement which has reached over 26 million views on YouTube has created controversy amongst many, yet it has been good publicity for Nike. After the advertisement aired, President Donald Trump tweeted “what was Nike thinking”, while others threw out or burned their Nike gear. However, Pinewood sophomore Morgan Van der Linde disagrees and says that “people are overreacting about the ad, and the burning of Nike shoes is pointless.” Despite the controversy, Nike’s sales have gone up since the advertisement aired. Since the airing of the advertisement, Nike’s stock and gross sales have gone up because many African Americans have been buying their product according to The Undefeated, and their online sales have gone up 31% according to USA Today.
From the start of Kaepernick’s kneeling movement to later the Nike advertisement campaign, these events have created a lot of controversy about both people and companies in the general public. Despite the haters and believers, Kaepernick has done exactly what he said in the advertisement: “believed in something, even if it meant sacrificing everything,” as he and others continue to fight the oppression of people of color.