Nike Made Colin Kaepernick Star of Its ‘Just Do It’ Campaign and Set the Internet Ablaze
Irate protestors are burning anything with a Swoosh on it.
BREAKING: Nike had been paying Colin Kaepernick all along, waiting for the right moment. That moment is now, as he becomes the face of the company’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign. pic.twitter.com/uccpDStbq5
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 3, 2018
We don’t know if it’s a good move or a bad move yet, but Nike revealed a major ad campaign starring Colin Kaepernick Monday, and a firestorm ensued. Literally.
The ad itself is simple: A closeup of the out-of-work QB’s face and the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
Based on reactions from the sports world, football fans, and many more conservative Nike consumers, Nike—like Kaepernick—is sacrificing something: the athletic wear giant’s shares.
Nike share price down around 2.5% as NYSE opens.
Backing #Kaepernick and now a social media protest against their stance seemingly having an impact on investors.
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”? pic.twitter.com/b3SyHOJFJZ
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) September 4, 2018
Regardless of anyone’s opinion of the move, it’s definitely bold, given that the company surely knew it would really piss some people off.
Kaepernick began the protests in 2016 while he was quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He explained that in kneeling he wasn’t protesting the anthem itself, he was attempting bring attention to police treatment of young black men—using his prominence to highlight the cause.
Still, many conservatives focused on the disrespect to the ceremony and the flag. The NFL itself essentially blackballed Kaepernick—the controversy was too big a risk to most teams’ bottom line.
The intensity of that controversy was obvious in protests against Nike that began popping up all over social media. One of the most visible was in a tweet from country music star John Rich.
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
Rich’s sound man was far from the only one to make such a statement.
This why I’ll buy Converse. pic.twitter.com/gNZo4ajhSx
— Susan Johnson (@susieq39475) September 3, 2018
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 4, 2018
I'm finally cutting out the Nike logos out of my Nike pillow case! pic.twitter.com/cP9Un6PVzH
— raf (@rafaelshimunov) September 4, 2018
— AlterAtYeshiva (@alteratyeshiva) September 4, 2018
Nike has yet to make any further statement regarding the campaign, though just publicizing the first ad is enough of a statement in the first place; they knew what they were doing.
Given that celebrities frequently earn several million dollars for campaigns like this, Kaepernick isn’t hurting, no matter what—and a number of those who oppose him have just destroyed their $100 shoes.