More than just an ad

Nike’s campaign shows how divided over Kaepernick our country’s become


Ryan McCarthy, Sports Editor

Colin Kaepernick’s Nike campaign, specifically his full length advertisement, has further lengthened the rift between supporters of Kaepernick’s movement and those opposed.
The advertisement, titled “Dream Crazy,” includes voiceovers of Kaepernick saying the campaign’s main slogans: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” as well as: “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.”
The public has been in an uproar since the retail giant released the advertisement. Customers have denounced their allegiance to the company, burning Nike shoes and cutting Nike socks. Some posts on social media include the hashtag “#JustBurnIt,” playing off Nike’s trademark “#JustDoIt.”
President Donald Trump has tweeted his disapproval of all players protesting during the national anthem in the past, announcing that “[t]he issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag, and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”
During an interview with the Daily Caller, a conservative news and opinion website, he says the ad “sends a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent.”
Despite the pushback from some of their consumer audience, Nike’s sales have actually increased since the ad was released over Labor Day weekend. According to Time Magazine, Nike’s online sales enjoyed a 31 percent increase from Sept. 3 to Sept. 5, the days following the advertisement release date.
Kaepernick, a former player who has not taken an NFL snap since 2016, has since been brought in for workouts by multiple teams, but has yet to be offered a contract in part because of his resistance to abandon his anthem protests.
Even though Nike’s commercial with Kaepernick—who has been sponsored by Nike since 2013— was a bold move that came with a substantial amount of risk, the level of anger and pushback was above anything that was expected. This pushback was obviously the opposite intent, and should have been perceived differently by the public audience.
Most of this pushback comes from people who believe that Kaepernick blatantly disrespected the flag while he and other NFL players protested racial injustice by kneeling for the national anthem. By protesting racial injustice, those players did not disrespect the flag, nor did they violate any laws.
According to Title 36, section 171 of the United States code — more commonly referred to as the Flag Code — “all present except those in [military] uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart,” but does not impose penalties on those who do not because of the right to free speech given by the US Constitution’s First Amendment.
In addition, the flag is actually more disrespected every day in ways that may be overlooked by the common observer.
Flags out after dark without an illuminating light, on clothes and touching ceilings of houses are all restricted under the Flag Code, yet one will undoubtedly see all of these violated every day just by walking around.
Nike’s partnership with Kaepernick for their latest campaign was a courageous statement by the brand, given his current reputation with the public, as well as their own large sphere of influence. Thus, the public should view this advertisement not as a political resistance, but rather as an inspiration for people to “dream crazy” enough to achieve what they really want.
Is that “crazy enough” to be realized?