Colin Kaepernick Becomes the Face of New Nike Campaign
By Brandon Simmons
Colin Kaepernick continues to be the face of social justice work; now that face has been placed on Nike’s latest campaign. According to ESPN, the shoe giant has tapped the former NFL quarterback to lead their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The ad features Kaepernick’s face behind the quote: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, Gino Fisanotti, says that the campaign will “introduce” the “Just Do It” slogan to the next generation of athletes, specifically to 15 and 17-year-olds. He boasts that Kaepernick’s work for social justice has garnered him this spot.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” explained Fisanotti. To keep in line with that theme ESPN also reports that Kaepernick has been endorsed by Nike since his rookie year in 2011 but they have not used him within the past two years.
Kaepernick made headlines in 2016 for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. The move drew both praise and criticism, as well as various debates surrounding different ways to protest. After finishing his 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick became a free agent but no team signed him the following year.
This is a huge move for Nike — who is also an apparel partner for the NFL — considering the current social and political climate that has intertwined into sports. It’s not to say Nike is the “woke” flavor of the month, but they recognize what is going on in the current sports landscape. Athletes are speaking out more than ever against problems within society and it has gotten a mixed reaction at best. While some people feel their sports personalities should just stick to the field, there are also those fans the who have applauded such efforts. The “Just Do It” slogan is not only iconic in sports, but a rally cry that transcends all industries and spaces of the world.
Thirty years ago, this may have not been possible; but today, sports fans care about a lot more than a scoreboard. There’s the personality and story behind these athletes. The campaign also features Cleveland Cavaliers forward Lebron James, tennis superstar Serena Williams, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and Seattle Seahawks rookie linebacker Shaquille Griffin, who is playing with only one hand. Kaepernick represents that whole ordeal of the taking his game past the sidelines. He was once a premiere quarterback that led his team to a Super Bowl but sacrificed his career for something bigger than football. It’s the that attitude that many people will associate with the phrase “Just Do It”.
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