Nike ad with Kaepernick receives unnecessary backlash

Sales continue to rise despite controversy

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Nike ad with Kaepernick receives unnecessary backlash

Maddie Schutte

Prompting severe backlash from some and immense support from others, new Nike ad with Colin Kaepernick shows bravery and dedication to a movement that isn’t leaving any time soon.

Kaepernick first tweeted the ad on Sept. 3. It was a black and white photo of him with the quote, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” alluding to his controversial protesting during the 2016 and 2017 football seasons.

The former 49ers quarterback is notorious for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice in the U.S., inspiring numerous other athletes to join him. The ad was followed by immediate controversy from those who find his protesting offensive to the U.S.. Posts began to circulate social media of people vowing to never buy Nike products again, and some even burning the products they already own.

Although destroying the products you have already purchased from Nike may make you feel better, you are just wasting your own money. Nike isn’t losing money from the destruction of your previously purchased products, and their dominance in athletic wear makes the boycotters impact almost nonexistent. Nike sales have earned $6 billion since the ad’s release according to Vox, showing that more people supported the ad than opposed it.

Nike’s support of Kaepernick is a push in the right direction toward making change. Nothing has ever been transformed in this country without a fight. For the supporters of Kaepernick out there, it is comforting to know a brand as popular as Nike would put their reputation on the line to support what they believe in. Knowing the extent of the controversy over Kaepernick’s actions, backlash from the ad could have been detrimental to Nike, but it was a risk the brand was willing to take.

Those who doubt Kaepernick’s need to protest in the first place are part of the problem itself. We like to pretend like we have overcome the racism in our country, but turning our backs to it prevents us from progressing. Even if you find his kneeling offensive to the U.S., Kaepernick’s need to protest is valid.

Because Nike is one of the dominant brands in sports across the U.S., the ad is a wake up call. Whether you are on board or not, there is no stopping this movement now that one of our most powerful brands has given them a broader platform to kneel on.

We can never fix the problems in our country if we don’t step up and speak up for what we want, which is exactly what Kaepernick and Nike are doing. The ad is inspiring to those who are afraid to use their voice and is perfectly executing our first amendment rights.

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