So it’s Nike’s 30 year anniversary for the “just do it” campaign. And they released some controversial images of Colin Kaepernick on Sept. 3rd (per featured image) and Serena Williams. The one of Colin Kaepernick is the seriously controversial one because of its background and what Kaepernick has been doing for the past two seasons.
However, we must not forget the battle our sister Serena the queen fought during another US Open she is currently dominating. She wore a black bodysuit that assisted her in staying healthy from reports. It was banned from the US Open. She also had a controversial ending to her tour in the final bout.
As far as the Kaepernick controversy goes, it appears to have caused an uproar amongst American citizens who do not support his cause. Update for those that have been under a rock:
Two years ago Colin Kaepernick started rocking an afro and kneeling during the National Anthem before NFL games. His reasoning was to protest the brutality of killing unarmed Black people by the police and the injustices that occur to black people across the nation. By kneeling during the flag, he gained national attention that made people question his patriotism. People felt he disrespected the men and women who serve their country and the flag for his freedom in the US army.
This statement is redundant, inflammatory, and fairly ignorant. However, that is another story for another day, and simply my opinion.
Kaepernick’s actions faced much scrutiny and backlash but in the same breath a lot of support. He became a symbol of hope for the black community and even donated to many organizations that stand for black justice. The NFL attempted to stop this protest, and eventually, Kaepernick was unofficially kicked out of the league because of the NFL’s fear of image if they kept him in the league. No team wanted to sign him because of fear of their own image. Even though two years before his protests he had led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. He still was a pretty good quarterback at the time. Last season there were a number of players on NFL teams that did a number of things like linking arms or kneeling to support Kaepernick’s cause and to stand against the injustices of this nation.
In the present day, we see Kaepernick in an advertisement for Nike. According to sources, Nike had been supporting Kaepernick all this time and decided to use his image for their ad as stated in the beginning. This has created a myriad of controversies that branches into many topics for discussion. For one thing, many people are burning and destroying their Nike gear in an anti-Nike campaign and deciding to not support Nike anymore. The same Nike gear they decided to pay for. Therefore, Nike has already profited from your purchase… right…This will only be counteracted by the purchases from the Nike supporters and the many people that may now support the “social consciousness” Nike is presenting. Or is it?
This ad is a brilliant idea, support someone in need of support. Someone who saw themselves becoming the villain to a just cause. Because he protested in a league 10,000 years behind in a country just as far back as it (hyperbole). This will garner people’s support of your company and boost sales as well as show people you’re down with the cause. Or are you really Nike?
One problem with this ad From Nike isn’t that it may cause divide racially (like there isn’t a divide already). Another problem is the possibility that Nike is attempting to profit off social consciousness. Profit off the screams and the crying of the innocent that are losing their lives to injustices. That’s the real issue. Is Nike authentic? Or is it another fortune 500 company that knows its consumers and knows this will get them to buy its products? This is a debate that’s been going on recently.
As for right now, it’s positive that Kaepernick is getting some sponsorship for his cause. For the man that was ousted from the NFL because of his stance, it is positive that there is some backing for him. Nike is definitely a great backing. Nike is the official designer of jerseys for the NFL as well.
This proves to be problematic for the NFL as they come in conflict with their designer, who reportedly created this ad without the NFL’s consent or consideration.
Returning to the main discussion, this ad is problematic in the perspective of seeming to wish to profit from people by using Kaepernick’s likeness. Nike is a company, it’s a business. And it is in the business of making money. anything that can make it money it will use to do so. Nike knows its demographics, young urban teens to young adults and this add attracts them.
So yes, Nike is profiting off of our pain (black and brown people being shot and unjustly killed by police officers). Nike is profiting off a social issue, Just as the Nike equality t-shirts and the Equality shoes it produces. That doesn’t appear to be positive to those fighting the cause Kaepernick represents. The cease and desist of the killing of unarmed black men and women in this country. It only raises awareness of the issue. And even that can be questionable.
There is also the possibility of Kaepernick’s message getting misconstrued. “stand for something, even if it means sacrificing everything doesn’t tell the whole story.” It was an interesting wordplay on Nike’s part. An attempt to be brave, but not too brave to be fairly honest. There could’ve been better word choices to solidify Kapernick’s philosophy. However, this sentence does also fair well when said. It’s up in the air,
Kaeps’ face on the ad is a step, even if small, it’s a step. Now the next is for Kaepernick to get Nike to put the profits of this ad to Kaepernick’s causes. This will result in real progression. With this being said, we can still appreciate the gesture. As well as know that Nike is a business. This may be a tough task. I’m not asking for any reader to support Nike for this. However, if you support Kaepernick you may have to back Nike in this phase as well. Through every bit of change, there will be moves that are questionable. However, this is part of the journey that we must navigate if we wish to see change.
Yes Nike has sweatshops and has problematic labor issues outside of the United States. We must not forget that. But we must also stay focused on a goal. support Kaepernick, with one eye on Nike at the same time. And know the steps towards social consciousness Nike is taking
The question of the day is this social consciousness?
Has it become a trend with Nike taking advantage of it and using it for their merchandise?
Is this positive or negative for us as a Black community?
To have social consciousness as a trend and to be popular. Can that change people’s perspectives and start diminishing the troubles we face?
Or will it only be that? A trend for Companies to profit off of?
Feel free to send me answers to these questions via the comment section or via the inboxes of the outlets to this post.
here are some more sources that discuss the Kaepernick situation