Nike, Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Will Locklin, Staff Writer

Generally, large sports merchandise companies make their money by the standard way of advertising.  For example, a company comes out with a new product line and advertises these products with famous celebrities.  This method has been used time and time again and it is an approach that is certain to generate heaps of cash. This method has been especially prevalent in the clothing industry and in the past few years no company as taken a different approach to advertising.  Until now.

This year marks the 30 year anniversary of one of the most prominent catchphrases in the 21st century, Nike’s “Just do it.”  They released several advertisement campaigns, featuring some of the sports world’s most prodigious stars, and Colin Kaepernick.  Kaepernick has been in the news for the past year for seemingly every reason except football. It all started with him kneeling for our nation’s inspiring national anthem before a football game in early September.  That sparked a slew of media coverage and an unhealthy amount of backlash mixed in with some support for his actions. In some ways, you could say he tried to build a bridge connecting sports with social issues, and he unfortunately succeeded.  Sports was supposed to be an escape from the sometimes harsh reality of life. However, this past year national sports shows such as ESPN would talk about the anthem protests more than the actual games.

While football season ended and the issue has mostly died down, the issue has recently returned to the front page.  Nike, a brand that many consider being the best in the sports clothing department just got a free agent backup quarterback to try and sell their product. On the surface, it just seems like an attention grabber or a chance for Nike to be in the direct spotlight with one of the sports most controversial characters.  However, social media and the general public definitely did not think so. Since the advertisement has come out people on social media, have claimed to have boycotted Nike but the numbers say otherwise. Nike sales have risen dramatically since the advertisement. Which says “believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”  All in all, could this current issue affect sports and people’s everyday life in the present? Probably not, but don’t be surprised if this sparks a cause and effect chain that sends our country into a significant league disputation.