OPINION: Nike confronting social injustices with Kaepernick


Despite all the hate on social media, the decision by Nike to go with controversial former NFL Super Bowl QB Colin Kaepernick for their 30th anniversary #JustDoIt” campaign is a wise one.

At first blush it appeared they knew with him as the face of the promotion they would garner this much media attention around the world, and the reward—profit—far outweighed the risk. But then, looking at the the slogan “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt” made it about something more.

Kaepernick is doing exactly that—it’s not disrespect, it’s standing up for something he believes in—that being racial injustices whether that was from police brutality or racism. There’s so much of that—starting right from the oval office at the White House across the U.S. and the world—that enough is enough.

Kaepernick’s kneeling has nothing to do with the U.S. Anthem or flag, and everything to do with racial injustice and police violence albeit through a silent protect. But the likes of Donald Trump and other haters are doing their best to say it’s all about the U.S. anthem and flag because they crawl back under a rock they came from when the word racism is spouted.

What I don’t understand is people are burning their shoes and cutting the Nike swoosh off their apparel and clothing they own because of Kaepernick. If they had chosen Odell Beckham Jr., Serena William, LeBron James, or countless others to be the face would the hate be the same? I bet you not.

It’s as if those burning their sneakers or cutting their shorts and socks agree that social injustices, police brutality and racism are good things. They aren’t at all.

Nike has gone with scandal-plagued athletes before. Remember Tiger Woods’ 2009 sex scandal that led to his divorce. While other sponsors fled Woods, Nike stuck with him.

The NFL issued a statement, and while they wouldn’t come out and fully throw their support behind Kaepernick—he has an active collusion grievance against the league which could be heard at any time—they did say they “believe in dialog, understanding and unity.”

It went on to say that they embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities.

“The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action,” said NFL spokeswoman Jocelyn Moore.

Nike is doing exactly that by making Kaepernick the face of this campaign—something they should be applauded for, not hated on.