Nike Bets on Colin Kaepernick 🏈

Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

From unemployed to endorsed

Less than a week before the NFL season kicks off, the league’s official uniform supplier announced that former quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be a part of Nike’s 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign. Kaepernick became the face of the NFL national anthem protests when he took a knee back in 2016. He has not played football since becoming a free agent that season. 

Suing the NFL

Last year, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL accusing the owners of colluding to keep him out of the league. The grievance alleges that President Trump and VP Pence propagated rhetoric to punish Kaepernick and other players that took part in his peaceful protest. Last week, it was announced that the case will go to trial.


NY Times: Colin Kaepernick, Face of N.F.L. Protests, Is Face of New Nike Campaign

The Hill: Nike taps Kaepernick as face


The left presents the deal as a positive move by Nike. They portray the move as Nike taking an independent stance on the issue and not being influenced by the NFL. They contend that the move will not sit well with the NFL as the league has not been successful in curbing on-field protests. Furthermore, they claim that with Trump’s continued criticism and declining TV ratings, the Kaepernick-Nike deal will certainly not make things better.


Breitbart: Nike, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Endorse Colin Kaepernick on Same Day

NY Post: Nike teams with Colin Kaepernick in ad campaign NFL will hate

Some on the right chose to highlight that former President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, tweeted his support for Kaepernick on the same day his Nike campaign was announced. They focus on Ahmadinejad’s presidency and the killing, imprisonment, and rape of dissidents by his administration. They also emphasize that the NFL is going to hate the deal as the league’s official uniform partner is teaming up with a former player suing the league.

Is this protest getting the right attention?

Kaepernick and his silent protest continue to remain relevant, with the Nike deal further legitimizing it. The protests continue to stir controversy, but whether the publicity is a good or bad thing remains to be seen. ESPN recently got involved by announcing that they will not be broadcasting the national anthem before games. While it’s important that this protest has drawn the attention of many, the reason for the protest seems to remain overshadowed by all the controversies surrounding it. 

The campaign



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