Nike: Campaign of Equality, or of a Divide?


The Nike Ad Campaign which led a hot streak of controversy.

Danyah Thnaibat, Staff Writer

Looking to call attention to incidents between police and unarmed African Americans, Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers quarterback, took a knee during the National Anthem in 2016. This action was deemed as unpatriotic by some, but by others, it was seen as an act of solidarity. He later came out to the press and explained that he was unable to stand for a flag that represented a country which did not demonstrate social and racial justice. The bold move that Kaepernick took soon influenced many athletes from many sports and across all professional levels.

Kaepernick’s highly controversial protest made waves in the country, with a portion of the NFL full of bellowing support, and another portion with immense detestation. Some fans went as far as boycotting watching ESPN, and now, two years later, boycotting against Nike’s athletic gear.

The boycott of Nike’s products started not too long ago, on September 3rd, with the face of Colin Kaepernick on Nike’s newest campaign for the thirtieth anniversary of the slogan “Just Do It”. A major backlash expressed extreme disdain towards Nike’s decision to portray a man who kneeled during the national anthem to be the face of a multibillion dollar sports company. Others showed their wholehearted support all over social media. Those for and against Kaepernick’s face on the front of the campaign have trending hashtags, one being #taketheknee, and the other being #burnnike. It seems, ultimately, very clear on which hashtag belongs to which group.

Despite the claims given on both sides, it is obvious there is an extreme division in the country with the opposing stances. Some have taken an aggressive verbal approach, and others have quit their jobs in the NFL claiming the movement should not belong on the field. Though 2016 may seem like old news, Colin Kaepernick has proven that the issue still stands and he will continue to not be silent about it.