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Colin Kaepernick Nike Ad Sparks Viral Controversy

Antonia Kubas, Staff Reporter

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Nike’s announcement of their new ad campaign has ignited a social media outrage. For Nikes 30th anniversary of the brands famous slogan “Just Do It” they had a series of athletes share their story of how they “Just Did It”. Colin Kaepernick’s ad, specifically, caused quite the controversy. It states, “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.” The reason this rubbed people the wrong way is because Colin Kaepernick, while on the San Francisco 49ers, made a political statement by refusing to stand for the national anthem, instead he kneels. This caused a huge controversy and debate over the meaning of his protest. Many people claimed that his actions were a rejection of America and was not honoring all the people that risked their lives and died for their country. Colin states that his kneeling has deeper meaning, he told the NFL media in an exclusive interview, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” The 49ers released a statement in response to Kaepernick, “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.” Even after all this explanation, the people were still debating the morality of Kaepernick’s actions. This controversy was brought back to the table when Nike released their ad, and there was a social media outrage. Photos of people cutting the Nike sign off their clothes, socks, etc… went viral. The tweet #nikeboycott was even trending on twitter. On the other side of social media, users were supporting Kaepernick with the hashtag #imwithkap, and ridiculing the people cutting and burning their Nike clothing. Many celebrities and politicians also gave their two cents on various social media cites. Even the President of the United States commented on the ad, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone way down, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” Donald Trump’s rant brought up the point that Nike’s business will struggle with all the controversy. The concern was that Nike’s stock would dip drastically and cause a financial issue for the business. But the aftermath of this controversy on Nike’s stock was quite the contrary. Their stock rose 31%, and they were selling almost double that they were before. In the grand scheme of things, despite the social media cross-fire, it was a win for Kaepernick and for Nike. Financially and Socially Nike sparked many conversations on free speech, oppression, and overall matured and bettered America politically.

Sources:

New York Times, Why Colin Kaepernick Didn’t Stand for the National Anthem, By: Christine Hauser

Time, Despite Outrage, Nike Sales Increased 31% After Kaepernick Ad, By Gina Martinez

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Colin Kaepernick Nike Ad Sparks Viral Controversy