With Nike debuting its "Just Do It" 30th anniversary ad featuring polarizing ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick yesterday, those with an opinion on his protests and the brand have time to digest the campaign and weigh in - including retailers active in footwear.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the field during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Santa Clara, California, Nov. 8, 2015. "Even if it means sacrificing everything" - which is exactly what Kaepernick has done.
Many people took to social media to praise Nike for taking such a strong stance behind Kaepernick who has faced heavy criticism for his advocacy. Kaepernick became the face of anthem protests over police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues in the USA two years ago. "But I think it's a bad message that they're sending and the objective of them doing it, maybe there's a reason for them doing it but I think as far as sending a message, I think it's a awful message and a message that shouldn't be sent".
The NFL released a statement Tuesday, saying it "believes in dialogue, understanding and unity". Socks worn by Kaepernick showing police as cartoon pigs are another favoured trope for those who want to portray him as anti-American.
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"Not long after the ad was released, an National Football League spokesperson said, "the social justice issues Colin and other athletes raised deserve our attention and action".
Nike's stock took an initial dip after the announcement (so did those of Adidas and Puma), but the company is wagering on long-term success with younger customers. In a tweet last month, Trump insulted the players' intelligence, saying that they are protesting "something that majority are unable to define". "Don't become the best basketball player on the planet, be bigger than basketball", the ad says.
There's no reason for Nike to be concerned, and more importantly, by partnering with Kaepernick, they are standing up for equality and justice for everyone.