Reactions to Colin Kaepernick’s face appearing on Nike’s anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign have been mixed. While some welcomed his protest against racial injustice, other criticized the NFL player for disrespecting the US flag.
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” Nike wrote on a picture of the former San Francisco 49 quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, as the brand unveiled the new face of its iconic “Just Do It” campaign on its 30th anniversary.
While many people applauded Nike’s choice of Kaepernick, who back in 2016 initiated the “take a knee” anthem protests that swept the NFL, others criticized the brand’s ambassador for “disrespecting” the US national symbols.
Wow! This is so damn powerful! Thank you, Colin! As a veteran, I can honestly say, you exemplify the true meaning of freedom of speech. And I & my brothers- & sisters-in-arms would lay down our lives for you to continue to speak. Congratulations on your deal with @Nike!
— Bad A$ $ Dark Angel * USMC Vet (@bobbi_bobbi) September 3, 2018
As the positive reactions focused on Kaepernick’s decision to opt out of his contract with the Niners in March 2017 to continue his fight against social injustice in the US, critics pondered if the 30-year-old free agent really had to “sacrifice” anything, especially given the newly-obtained publicity and an ad contract with Nike.
Name anything he sacrificed. He was benched before he protested, he was an underperformer on the field. He’s become far more celebrated and famous as a SJW than his NFL performance would justify. Now he’s got a lucrative ad contract.
— Bill Carrier (@tizwicky2009) September 3, 2018
So now you believe in sweat shops and cost cutting means to make the most profit on your overpriced Nike products? Yep that seems like you sure are making a difference! 😂
— Dustin M (@Doublebogie98) September 3, 2018
At the same time, the online community wondered if Kaepernick’s leadership qualities and advocacy for equality would inspire Nike to adopt better labor practices around the world. Amid the backlash, some users even claimed that they will not be purchasing Nike products any longer.
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