Sports apparel giant Nike is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its “Just do it” advertising campaign with fresh material, and at least one ad features former-NFL-player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick.
What are the details?
Kaepernick posted the ad on Twitter Monday, showing a black and white image of his face with the message: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Nike is the National Football League’s official apparel partner, and has had Kaepernick on its endorsement roster since 2011. But the new ad honoring Kaepernick is the first Nike has rolled out of the player since 2016, which is the last year the former quarterback played in the league.
Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North American told ESPN, “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward.”
What’s the background?
Kaepernick — who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 where they lost to the Ravens — was the catalyst for the ongoing protests of NFL players kneeling during the pre-game playing of the National Anthem. The former quarterback began opting out of standing during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the 2016 pre-season, and continued kneeling throughout the season, with other players from numerous teams doing the same.
In August 2016, Kaepernick explained his reasoning for the protest, saying: “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,” he said in reference to instances where police officers have killed African American suspects during arrest without being criminally charged.
The protests continue into the 2018 season, with some players raising their fists in the air while the anthem plays.
In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL, claiming that team owners had colluded to collectively refuse signing the free-agent because of his decision to publicly protest during the National Anthem at games. The dispute continues, and Kaepernick was given the go-ahead for a full hearing on the issue last week.