NEW ORLEANS (Sept 27, 2018) – Kudos to Nike and former professional football player Colin Kaepernick, who was named the face representing the company as it celebrates 30 years of the “Just Do It” campaign. Despite the tension it has brought even more to the surface, it has offered an opportunity to discuss the REAL reason for Kaepernick’s protest and resulting ban from football.
And it hasn’t been bad for Nike, either, which has seen a 31 percent increase in sales.
The Nike announcement about Kaepernick brought racism to the forefront. People began protesting by burning Nike paraphernalia and threatening to boycott the brand. Louisiana alone saw two negative responses. Kenner Mayor Ben Zahn banned recreational centers “booster clubs” from purchasing Nike products – and then was forced to rescind the order. And a Slidell High School teacher wrote a racially insensitive post about the campaign that essentially cost her job.
We also saw positive feedback in response to the campaign, starting with the sales increase, despite concerns that the campaign would decrease sales.
Kaepernick’s ad slogan said, “Believe in something – even if it means sacrificing everything.” The ad highlights athletes with dreams that might once have been thought impossible. Other celebrities included are Lebron James, Serena Williams, Alphonso Davies and many others.
Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began protesting police brutality by sitting during the national anthem. He began protesting police brutality against blacks on Aug. 14, 2017, but the situation didn’t gain attention immediately. Gradually, other athletes joined him – not only professional athletes but high school athletes and even college cheerleaders, such as those at Howard. Based on the reaction across the world and his inability to freely exercise his First Amendment right, he has filed a grievance against the NFL owners for collusion based on his inability to find a job with an NFL franchise.
Fans began boycotting the NFL in support of Kaepernick’s protest and mistakenly claim the issue is about patriotism. Following backlash from President Trump, the NFL officially banned kneeling on the field during the national anthem. Players are now only allowed to sit in the locker room if they do not wish to stand on the field.
Racial tensions have been high in America, especially since the election of Donald Trump, America’s 45th president. According to statista.com, there have been approximately 305 African Americans killed at the hands of police officers in 2017-2018.
Kaepernick’s protest shed light on a serious public issue. When it’s an issue that nobody wants to address, especially on such a national level, the easiest thing to do is get rid of the problem. This has gained so much attention, though, people are really becoming more aware and active to find a solution and end police brutality.
We fully support Colin Kaepernick and are happy that Nike chose him to represent the company. We are certain history will show his treatment as a travesty of his rights as a U.S. citizen.
(Editor-in-Chief India Walton wrote this editorial on behalf of the staff.)