Opinion: There is nothing wrong with Nike’s new campaign

On Labor Day, Colin Kaepernick was announced to be the face of Nike’s new 30-year anniversary campaign, and it has sparked quite the argument all across the country. Kaepernick, who is known for his 2016 protests of police brutality and racial injustice where he knelt during the national anthem of NFL games has been the national headline for the last two weeks due to his new endorsement. Nike making him their head figure is a bold move considering the controversy behind him. On one side, there is a group that agrees with Kaepernick and his views, and then there is another side that feels he is disrespecting the flag and the military that fights to protect it. However, Kaepernick does have the right to his own opinion, and whether people like it or not, he has not broken any laws.

The advertisement with Kaepernick has been run with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” This is because when Kaepernick knelt game after game during that 2016 season, he knew that he was putting his career on the line, and when that year came to a close, he was off the San Francisco 49er’s roster and has since not been signed by another team. However, that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to voice what he believes in, which I respect. Anyone who is willing to give up his or her career for their belief deserves to be celebrated not reprimanded. 

The side that is anti-protest of the flag has taken extreme measures in the last few weeks to show their distaste for Nike’s endorsement. Some people have gone as far as to burn their Nike clothing and shoes. Some have even taken videos and pictures of these acts and posted them on social media. The other side of the argument, the one in favor of Kaepernick and the endorsement has also shared their opinions, just not as drastically. They had also tried to raise Nike’s stock back up as it had first dropped when the trading floor first opened up after Labor Day, and their efforts have not been in vain seeing that the company released a week ago that their online sales were up thirty-one percent since the endorsement was published. Athletes such as Serena Williams and Lebron James have also backed the advertisement, which has been paramount seeing that both athletes are not only sponsored by Nike but are two figures that the company can’t afford to lose.

I have the viewpoint in favor of Kaepernick and Nike seeing that Kaepernick does have the right to share his own opinion, and Nike has the right to endorse him. Yes, this could easily be a marketing scheme that Nike has planned out to boost their sales in the long run, but it doesn’t matter. Either way, the company took a chance and backed a figure that has been repeatedly criticized by the media and the NFL fanbase. What a percentage of the Nike protestors don’t even understand is that this whole time Kaepernick has been protesting racial injustice and police brutality NOT the flag or the soldiers that protect it. He isn’t doing it in an uncalled for way either. It is being done peacefully and in a way that throughout history people have used as a sign of respect.

I am not a part of the African American community, so there is no way for me to know what it’s like to face severe racial injustice. However, I do know that no matter the color of someone’s skin, they still deserve the right to speak about what they believe in. Isn’t that one of the freedoms that our country is founded upon? Isn’t that what the military is fighting to protect? So before someone thinks about burning their Nike shoes and calling out Colin Kaepernick for being disrespectful to the men and women that protect our country they should ask themselves, “Has he not just been putting his First Amendment right to use?”

**These are my own opinions, and they do not represent the views of the Sentry staff as a whole.**