Nike Faces Backlash Over Colin Kaepernick Ad, Critics Destroy Their Apparel in Protest
Nike on Wednesday dropped a new advertisement on YouTube featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Lebron James, Serena Williams and a slew of other athletes.
Despite Kaepernick’s appearance in it, the new Nike commercial isn’t overtly political. It makes no reference to “taking a knee.” Instead, it sticks to the inspirational tone that Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign is famous for.
Kaepernick, the narrator in the video, starts by saying: “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do — good, stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.”
The video runs through images of professional athletes such as Williams and James before their sports careers really took off when they were still in their youth. The roughly two-minute clip ends with Kaepernick saying: “So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.”
Nike said the ad will be shown Thursday when the NFL season kicks off with the Atlanta Falcons taking on the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. It also will air during other sporting events such as the U.S. Open, Major League Baseball games, and college football.
In some of the most newsworthy acts of protest, many have taken to destroying their Nike apparel to show opposition to the former San Francisco 49er star being one of the faces of the footwear company’s 30th-anniversary campaign.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It,” Kaepernick’s ad, which he tweeted on Labor Day, read.
But there’s a certain group of people who are fired up about the footwear brand partnering with the athlete who is suing the NFL for collusion.
Among some of the methods of boycotting Nike, some have cut the Nike logos off their socks, tossed T-shirts in the garbage and even cooked up and eaten the hosiery.
However, others pointed out the issue with people tossing and damaging Nike gear they’ve already purchased.
“The people who were burning Tiki torches last year are burning Nike shoes this year. Either way, you’ve got to buy ‘em to burn ‘em. Can’t be too bad for Tiki or Nike. I’ll be buying Nikes for the first time in years this week. To wear. #NikeBoycott.”
“Former Marine current dumbass, he already paid for the socks what point are you trying to prove?”
Kaepernick’s deal with Nike was nearing expiration, but the Associated Press reported it was renegotiated into a multi-year deal. As part of the agreement, Kaepernick’s likeness will be plastered across TV commercials, billboards, and online advertisements.