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Nike ad sparks debate

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Nike ad sparks debate

Photo Courtesy of Vox.com

Photo Courtesy of Vox.com

Photo Courtesy of Vox.com

Macy Dietrich, News Editor

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Nike’s recent advertisement featuring notorious anthem objector, Colin Kaepernick of the NFL, has sparked a tremendous amount of controversy. Expressing the idea, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” the apparent views of the corporate giant are now costing the company millions of before-faithful customers.

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is infamous for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, intending to resist police brutality and racial inequality. The athlete signed a short-term contract with Nike, which has since been extended, with plans to become the face of the brand, as it approaches its thirtieth anniversary (Denver Post).

Many dissenters have cut the logos off their Nike socks and burned their Nike sneakers to a crisp, not considering that Nike had already profited from their prior purchases. The brand was quick to receive backlash from Twitter users as well, including Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) who tweeted, “First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?” As many may not realize, Nike never intended to “force” its consumers to choose between a product versus a country. The new Nike ad may be distasteful to some, but Nike is still the same sports outfitter as before.

Some have expressed that Kaepernick was not the right choice for the campaign, because he has not scarified the same amount as others have. One such righteous player was Pat Tillman, who left his football career for the military after the 9/11 attacks, losing his life in Afghanistan three years later—showing an example of sacrificing for a passionate belief (The Washington Post). Kaepernick, although, is seen as a role model in the eyes of some, because he continued to kneel for racial equality while facing unimaginable criticism. He may not be a war hero, but the amount of courage it must have taken him to stand for something so deeply controversial is inspiring.

On the other hand, some were thrilled to see Nike standing up to racial inequality, actor Jim Carrey tweeting, “Thank you @Nike for just doing it,” including the hashtag “#CapitalismWithAConscious.” Nike’s choice to feature Colin Kaepernick in its advertisement could merely be a publicity opportunity, or it could be a way of expressing an opinion. The business has the right to “believe in something,” which all people may not agree with, but this campaign, nonetheless, will go down in history.

Whichever side you are on, it can be agreed that every individual has a right to his or her own opinions. Regardless if you believe Kaepernick exercised his first amendment right or if he disrespected the US protective forces, it cannot be denied that he was simply expressing a standpoint on an issue, which he has the right to do.

All can turn their heads to racial inequality, but that does not mean it ceases to exist. People of color are being shot and killed by our “trusted” police officers, and attempting to validate these “misunderstandings” will not bring victims back. The NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem may not have chosen the best time to express their opinion, but how else can such a controversial topic be expressed and acknowledged by the public?

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Nike ad sparks debate