Colin Kaepernick Nike Ad Controversy

Janan Shouman , GW Writer And Editor

Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Ad Controversy:

On September 3rd, Nike uploaded an ad for their new campaign which included many athletic stars, but the most controversial/ talked about star in the advert was former 49er football quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Even if you guys don’t know a lot about football or who he even is, everyone knows the kneel. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem of a football game to protest against the injustice that Black Americans face from the police. That one action caused a huge uproar of people saying that what he did was disrespectful, unpatriotic, and that he shouldn’t bring politics into something that people really enjoy. And that’s the reason why people are upset that Nike chose him for the ad.

     This situation brings up several questions. Should brands be able express their political opinions or is it okay for brands to have political bias? Do brands use political issues to get attention or become mainstream and if they do, should it be allowed? Did Nike choose Kaepernick because of who he is himself or because he was one of the first guys to kneel? For the first question, I do think that brands should be able to express their own political opinions but what I have a problem with is political bias. Brands should not be able to shut down the opinions that disagree with their political opinions like Facebook (Facebook was accused for shutting down conservative news sources/politicians’ voices). For the next two questions, I think Nike used Kaepernick’s kneeling controversy for their campaign to get more attention, and it obviously worked. Now I don’t think it’s right that Nike did that but there is nothing we can really do about it because of the first amendment which gives Nike the freedom to say/use whatever they want for their campaign.

       Now if you actually watch the ad, which I encourage you to do and come up with your own opinion, Nike shows how people from different backgrounds, economic situations and people with disabilities can still make it and live their dream, which is a really good message. They also show multiple athletes’ stories from how they overcame their poor situations. But something I really don’t like about the ad is when Kaepernick shows up and he says that he sacrificed his whole career to stand up for what’s right, which is not accurate at all. Kaepernick left the 49ers and he’s not that great of a player so I don’t think him losing his career has a lot to do with the kneeling controversy. But then again it kind of had a little to do with him not finding a job because a lot of people stopped watching the games because of that and that caused many other athletes to kneel and some didn’t even come out for the anthem which is really disrespectful, so I understand in a business perspective why nobody wants to hire him. Lastly, I just want to say that this is just my opinion and I highly recommend for you to do your own research and come up with your own opinion on this issue.