Nike revealed on Monday that Colin Kaepernick will be part of it’s 30th anniversary campaign for the “Just Do It.” slogan. A teaser for the ad read, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.”. The ad sparked worldwide praise and the image has been shared over a million times on the internet.
The ad acted as fuel to an already burning fire stroking the flaming debate whether Colin Kaepernick was justifiably blackballed from the N.F.L. after he refused to give up his right to peaceful protest.
It all began in 2016 when Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality. And although he wasn’t the only player to do so, he was the most consistent and steadfast about the issues, often using his media time to bring attention to unarmed black men dying at the hands of the police.
Colin Kaepernick’s dogged refusal to stand and be quiet, together with President Trump’s slavish comments condeming Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, along with the mounting deaths of black men by the police, lit a fire of what became a social justice movement. And Colin Kaepernick became the face of that movement.
The N.F.L. responded by barring Kaepernick from the league. It has been years since he was blackballed and although he has received a significant amount of support from the American community, expressly from the black community, Colin became an untouchable in the sport world.
It makes Nike’s announcement on Monday, naming Kaepernick the face of their landmark anniversary campaign, so important. Although he lost his career, he did not lose support from everyone in the sport world. Nike in a way rewrites the story of David versus Goliath. In this case David isn’t standing alone to fight Goliath, he stands with Americans big and small supporting him.
It reminds me why America is a great country.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
-Emma Lazarus, New Colossus
Eagles’ defensive end Chris Long explains it very well.
The day after the new campaign with Kaepernick the N.F.L. released a statement saying the issues that Colin Kaepernick and others have raised deserve attention and action.
But the words ring hollow in light of the legal battle the N.F.L. is fighting against Colin Kaepernick. Colin was forced to take the league to court after the league refused to acknowledge wrong doing after they colluded to keep him off the field. Last Thursday Colin Kaepernick achieved an important win in his case when the judge ruled in his favor to keep the case alive after the N.F.L. attempted to have the case dismissed.
According to The New York Times the league is worried about how this will effect the new season starting soon and they are still “grappling” with how to defuse the smoldering debate over players who demonstrate during the national anthem to protest racism, police brutality and social injustice.
However this case turns out, it is going to set a precedent for the NFL moving forward. And in the meantime a new generation of Americans are watching Colin Kaepernick and they are emboldened to stand up in the face of injustice, even if it means risking everything, because they can see the power to spark great change in the United States of America.