Colin Kaepernick was the former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers who, since August of 2017, infuriated NFL fans by kneeling during the National Anthem to silently protest police brutality and the shootings of unarmed black Americans. This has sparked many controversies amongst Americans, even upsetting President Trump as he took to another series of 4 a.m. Twitter rants.
Kaepernick has since then left the NFL to become a free agent, donated to multiple charities and continued to spread awareness of police brutality across America. Most sport companies wouldn’t even think of getting in touch with Kaepernick just based on the controversy that follows him, but Nike saw this as an opportunity.
This past Monday, Nike had announced Kaepernick as the face of the company’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign by releasing a black-and-white photo of Kaepernick’s face with the caption, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” While this is a reference to Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL, this hasn’t stopped Americans from claiming that Kaepernick is still disrespecting the country and flag rather than seeing the real issue.
“Imagine a country where a shoe ad is more controversial than a school shooting.”
— LivingBlue (@LivingBlueinRed)
People took to their Twitter accounts to show their own method of protesting Nike. Americans are burning their own Nike merchandise to show that they are not supporting the multibillion-dollar company. One Twitter user by the name of Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) posted a video of him burning his Nike shoes alongside parts of his backyard. The caption read, “First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?”
As far as Nike is concerned, they aren’t. Watching their customers reach into their own wardrobe to burn merchandise that’s already been paid for seems kind of hilarious. Soon enough, the ad campaign prompted President Trump to get on Twitter to give his opinion on the boycotts.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN,” Trump tweeted. “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!”