Kaepernick’s Cause

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Nike's newest ad campaign

Nike's newest ad campaign

Carl Nicklas

Carl Nicklas

Nike's newest ad campaign

Ryan Druckenmiller and Carl Nicklas

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On August 26, 2016, he made the decision that would drastically change his life. Two and a half years later, Colin Kaepernick is still feeling the effects of sitting during the national anthem.

 

There wasn’t much attention brought to it at the time, in fact, most people didn’t even know until later that night when a statement was released by the San Francisco 49’ers.

 

Colin made this choice because he was deeply upset with the frequent oppression and police brutality that was going on with people of color at the time. Fifteen African American  men and women had gunned down by police in the two years before he started his protest. He refused to stand during the national anthem until the flag represented what it’s supposed to. He was quoted by Clark Mindock at Independent as saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” Responsibility had to be taken for the widespread discrimination that was obvious in the U.S.

 

After the protest spread throughout the league, Kaepernick was threatened with fines for every game he publicly kneeled or sat for the national anthem. Colin persevered through this backlash, but fines would soon become a very small issue compared to what resulted at large.

 

Kaepernick still had intentions of playing in the 2017 season but the 49er’s threatened to cut him if he continued with his contract extension, so he dropped his contract and decided to become a free agent. The amount of hate and bashing Colin received going into this period of time escalated, and Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report wrote a passage stating,  “One executive said he hasn’t seen this much collective dislike among front office members regarding a player since Rae Carruth. Remember Rae Carruth? He’s still in prison for the plot to murder his pregnant girlfriend.” While Kaepernick had the ability to start for most of the teams in the league, nobody would touch him.

 

Kaepernick recently filed a collusion case against the NFL in relation to these events. The request by the NFL to dismiss the case was declined by the arbitrator, meaning the lawsuit will continue.

 

Since then, there have been more people and companies to step forward and show their support. Nike’s campaign, “Dream Crazy” was put out on September 3, and it incorporated the idea of “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” The way they delivered this campaign was through an ad as well as an inspirational video. Colin was the face of all of it, literally. The main advertisement, which was made into billboards placed everywhere, has Colin’s face as well as the new slogan. The video displays many different types of triumphs in sports, and has Colin narrating it. In addition, Colin Kaepernick makes an appearance in the final seconds to make sure the message hits home.

 

Although Nike was so successful with this decision, it almost didn’t happen. Back in 2017, when the company realized no one was signing him and they didn’t have a jersey to put his name on, top executives agreed to end his contract with them as well. If it wasn’t for their communications director, Nike’s part in this movement wouldn’t have existed. Nigel Powell was able to convince the organization to keep Kaepernick on and explained the heavy amount of reprisal they would receive from not supporting him in contrast to supporting him. The company concluded it was a valuable choice not only because they would be doing the right thing for Kaepernick, but by doing so they would be reaching out to the younger urban community more than they would otherwise.

 

In the community, many individuals have stepped forward to show their support for Kaepernick. Many celebrities, such as Rihanna, are expressing their support. Rihanna reportedly turned down the offer to play at the Super Bowl halftime show this year to show solidarity with Kaepernick. Even in our own community people have expressed their solidarity. Leo Dionicio, a senior at Hall HIgh School, shared his beliefs with us: “He’s my guy and I clearly agree with what he’s doing because it’s his own right to do so, but it’s also on a national level which should bring even more meaning for people because it’s a bigger risk that he’s taking.”

The NFL recently created a new rule stating that teams will be fined if players kneel for the national anthem. The players now have the option to stay in the locker room during the playing of the anthem. The decision whether to have the individual or the team pay the fine is up to the team’s management.

 

Colin Kaepernick has had a very tumultuous couple of years. After being cut, disrespected, and brushed off, he has come back a long way to continue his fight. It will be interesting to see what his future holds, especially in regards to the NFL.

Ryan Druckenmiller
Do Kaepernick’s protests impact your view of Nike?

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