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Opinion: Nike Stands With Kaepernick

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Chris DiGeronimo, Sports Editor

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“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This phrase was meant to inspire and motivate people for the  30th anniversary of Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” campaign. But behind these words is a controversial athlete, Colin Kaepernick.

Kapernick, the man who took a knee for social inequality and sparked a firestorm of debate on and off the football field. The man who used his platform to get his message to the entire country. The man that was blacklisted from all 32 NFL teams, because he believed he was doing the right thing.

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Isn’t Kaepernick doing that?

This decision by Nike to use Kaepernick as their spokesperson for this campaign has caused just as much controversy as his kneeling brought to the NFL. Nike has had its fair share of controversy. In 1996, they made Charles Barkley say “I am not a role model” in a world where athletes were considered  role models. In 2010 they made Tiger Woods say “winning takes care of everything” in light of allegations that Woods had multiple marital affairs.

Their oldest and most popular spokesperson, Michael Jordan, had a history of gambling during his playing career, and he is still under the Nike umbrella.  But this controversy is bigger.

Social media has blown up over the past week with videos on Instagram and Snapchat of people ripping the “swooshes” of their socks and burning Nike products. Nike’s stock dropped three points the day the partnership was announced. The NFL, which is being sued by Kaepernick in a collusion case, even released a statement regarding the controversy.

“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding, and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” said Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice president of communication and public affairs. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes raised deserve our attention and action.”  

Pres. Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to express his opinion on the issue, as well.

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” wrote Trump.

He said in an interview with “The Daily Caller:”

“In another way it is what the country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do what people think you shouldn’t do.”

Nike has shown over the years that they are not afraid to go big when it comes to putting themselves in the middle of sensitive social and political issues. In the world of apparel, it is up to the brand to come up with a slogan that will get a reaction, and Nike did just that.                

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Opinion: Nike Stands With Kaepernick