By SUZETTE MALDONADO
The United States of America is considered the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Filled with individuals that have the right to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom to protest. Freedom of protest, as long as you don’t take a knee during the National Anthem at a football game, that is. This sounds ridiculous to most, but considered extremely disrespectful by some. That part of this story is old news at this point, what I’m here to explain to you is the uproar of Sir Colin Kaepernick signing a deal with Nike to promote the “freedoms” of America.
Kaepernick is against the excessive gun violence and police brutality that has taken place throughout the United States. He made headlines when he decided that during the National Anthem at an NFL football game, he would not stand and he took a knee in support of those who do not have a voice or platform to do so. Many have died senselessly due to police brutality and gun violence. He chose to take a knee when most would be afraid to.
“Willing to risk what you love for a cause that is important to you is nothing short of heroic to me.”
Many have shown support for his cause. Throughout his fight, he has lost his football contract and sponsorships, but believes in himself and change, above all. Ryne Jones, a Vineland native and an avid sports fan, shared that his initial reaction to the campaign was respect. “Willing to risk what you love for a cause that is important to you is nothing short of heroic to me.”
Although some believe that what Kaepernick is doing is heroic, some believe that him kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful to troops and veterans. Kaepernick actually acquired the idea from a veteran himself. “He spoke with former NFL player and veteran, Nate Boyer, who suggested he kneel instead of sitting. Our right to protest is in the First Amendment to the Constitution the same rights those soldiers are fighting to protect,” Jones explained.
In September, Nike announced that they signed Kaepernick for their next advertising campaign. This created media uproar. Individuals that disagreed with this campaign went to extremes to protest against Nike.
On various media outlets, videos showed people going as far as burning the Nike merchandise they already owned. The commercial depicts people trying to achieve different goals. It begins with a man trying to succeed at a skateboarding trick and goes into a young man who has no legs competing in a wrestling match.
Though the two examples are on different levels of the spectrum, the overall consensus of the commercial is that no matter how small or large your dream may be, don’t give up. This connects with Nike’s slogan “Just Do It”.
Nike taking a stand and partnering with Kaepernick was extremely brave considering how strongly people feel about what he “kneels” for whether one agrees or disagrees. “I was truly inspired by the Nike ad. Kaepernick truly sacrificed EVERYTHING. I firmly believe that he will be remembered as a civil rights hero. I think it is quite commendable Nike was willing to take this stance and support him and those who stand with him.
“While other companies chose to operate in silence, Nike used their actions to show that they were willing to ‘Just Do It,’” Jones explains on his podcast @GoodTakesNBAPod.
The Nike commercial aired on September 6, 2018 during the NFL opening game between the 2017 Super Bowl Champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Atlanta Falcons. Whether you view Kaepernick as a hero or a villain, one trait these characters always have in common is that they don’t give up their fight.
Whatever your fight, Just Do It.