When Nike revealed that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of their ad campaign, I was excited like many others.
Excuse me, I like many black folks, other PoCs, and marginalized people were excited. Other demographics…not so much.
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
With these words and a headshot of Kap, Nike has told everyone they fully support him and his work…days before the NFL season starts. So, I say let this ad do its other intended work and start real conversations.
This move can be seen on a number of levels and interrupted many ways. This could be that Nike wanted to tell the NFL they’re full of crap. This could’ve been Nike telling us that; hey they do support real issues again. The list goes on.
Now, there’s most definitely legitimate criticisms to be made.
They’re now publicly supporting him about his work? So…why were they silent for nearly 2 years? I don’t have an answer for this. This timing seems strange. Why choose this time after his court case with the NFL is still going on? Again I’m not sure.
Also let’s not forget that this very profitable company still has non unionized sweatshop labor. Which was well reported in the 1980s and 1990s. There were protests and a call to change.
These aren’t matters of the past however. Their poor business practices made headlines in 2017. So they still have a lot to answer for. Note that they stated in decades prior, better business practices would be implemented…yet here we are folks.
The other counterpoint used is that they are profiting off Kap’s causes. His silent protest made him more than a NFL player. He rose to iconic status if you will. Everyone has an opinion about him in some way or another. You could argue that they are certainly making a business move off his work. Remember however this isn’t the first time Nike has supported their athletes and their social causes.
These criticisms are real conversations we shouldn’t forget to have.
Now, you’ll remember how I mentioned a large majority of people got mad? Take a look at social media and see what a large number of naysayers have in common. Yes, it’s definitely a lack of melanin folks. Your eyes aren’t fooling you.
Anyway before I continue, yes I support Kap’s work and message. Reasons: I’m black, I live in America, I’m an activist, and we A LOT got issues that need fixing. So of course, I will join causes to speak on racial injustice and any injustice for that matter.
Now, I’m a fan of important conversations. Again use Kap’s endorsement to start conversations among those you know.
If you support the cause, feel free to share it. When you do take note of whom objects to it. Notice what rationale they latch onto. Take account of their “arguments”.
Are they using the false argument of being disrespectful to our flag? Our anthem? Is this the first time “friends” are discussing this issue with you?
Then ask them more questions. Do they recognize Kap was/is protesting our still ongoing issue regarding black lives? You this as an opportunity to really gauge individuals. Do you have friends? Do you even have allies??
Ultimately let Nike’s endorsement of Kap do it’s work. Engage friends, family, coworkers, and etc. Speak about the real issues at hand and acknowledge the real criticisms.
Then use your better judgement to assess if any of these relationships are worth keeping. Recognize whom really has your best interests at heart. This endorsement is really is more than it seems.