Colin Kaepernick signs new deal with Nike
The deal has created plenty of controversy
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, signed a multi-year deal with Nike, making him the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign.
Despite being out of the NFL since 2016, Kaepernick has been at the forefront of numerous headlines. In 2016, Kaepernick refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of the wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the U.S., where he stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Since then, Kaepernick has been featured in GQ, Time, and most recently, Nike promos.
The video ad, which was run during the NFL’s opening game on Thursday, Sept. 6, features Kaepernick’s voice played over multiple clips of children, women, minorities, celebrities, and those with disabilities who are working hard to achieve their personal dreams. In one particular pan over the screen, Kaepernick’s face is featured as he says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” This quote is the feature of Nike’s new campaign with the key message behind this ad revolving around the idea that “It’s only crazy until you do it.”
Like the “take a knee” protest—which inspired multiple NFL players to kneel during the national anthem to support Kaepernick in his pursuit against racial injustice—Kaepernick’s deal with Nike has created backlash and tension for audiences across the country. Kaepernick and Nike started trending on social media right after the announcement of the campaign. #BoycottNike was trending at number one on Twitter, displaying customers of Nike destroying their gear in protest of Kaepernick’s new contract. It has even come to the point where owner of Prime Time Sports, Stephen Martin, located at the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs, has pulled all of his Nike merchandise accompanied by a sign saying, “All Nike 1/2 Price and Still Choosing to Stand, Just Doing It,” according to news outlet KRDO.
However, some have been more receptive to the news. “I think Nike took a big risk knowing that Colin Kaepernick has often been seen in the negative light,” sophomore Violet DeSynder said. “But I think they wanted to emphasize the importance of [his] endeavors and the impact he’s made in the past three years.”
Most people who are displeased by Kaepernick’s national anthem protest believe that Kaepernick is disrespecting both the national anthem and flag and, in turn, failing to show pride and support for veterans and active soldiers. This has caused many to rip off the Nike logo off their apparel or burn their merchandise in front of cameras.
Initially, the ad campaign hurt Nike’s stock. It was reported that Nike lost three percent of its stock since the campaign was released, which equated to about $3.75 dollars in market cap. Now, their stock has risen 31 percent, according to USA Today. Sophomore business student Gabriella Pisani wasn’t surprised by the continual profitability of Nike. “With people throwing away something they already paid for… Nike still benefits at the end of the day,” meaning Nike may not be worried about the burning of their apparel.
As a response to the protests, Nike’s brand Vice President of North America, Gino Fisanotti, released a statement to ESPN stating, “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.”