Colin Kaepernick and Nike: Smart Marketing with a Bold Message

If you’ve been keeping up with the news in the past week, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of opinions. Nike, is a well known athletic brand throughout the world, and they’ve decided to stir the political and social pot (and I’m here for it).

Nike products are worn by some of the most reputable names in all of sports. Its iconic clothing line is one that always catches eyes,and is recognized by almost all on this planet. Known for its clever and impactful marketing tactics, Nike knows what’s up.

Recently however, Nike released an ad that brought America into a frenzied and argumental state. Let me set the scene, because our story begins a few years back. It’s Fall of 2016, and the National Football League is just  kicking off. In a game against the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers, Colin Kaepernick makes a bold decision- he kneels during the national anthem. America exploded at the sight of the (at the time) quarterback for the 49ers showing such “disrespect” during the Anthem.

When asked why Kaepernick was not sanding with hand over his chest, his response was mesmerizing, and sparked a movement that did not just limit itself to the confines of the NFL.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, to me this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Kaepernick not only started a movement with this statement, but created an entirely new culture. Notable athletes and celebrities continue to stand (and kneel for the anthem) by his side today. However, Colin Kaepernick since the 2016 season has not been on an NFL roster. He continues to get looked at by scouts and agents, but no team is willing to bring him in due to the controversy  and effect that his presence may have on a team.

But Colin hasn’t just been sitting idly by. Recently, Nike released an advertisement with a theme of “Dream Crazy”. The ad shows a number of athletes that had to defy the odds to make it to where they are today, and is both tear-jerking and motivating. The ad has a number of memorable quotes, and I recommend if you have not seen it already, to go give it a view.

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing it all,” is heard echoing as the familiar face of Colin Kaepernick appears on the screen. This one little statement is what sent America into outrage. However, it’s true, isn’t it? Kaepernick sacrificed his entire professional career by taking a knee during the National Anthem. He has been placed on the side burner by a vast majority of NFL teams, that are too afraid of the “baggage” that comes from a player like Kaepernick. He intentionally used his platform as an NFL quarterback to stand up for something that he believed in, not just to play football. He stood up and spoke out for all the black men and women that have been wrongfully discriminated against in our American society.

On one end of the spectrum, conservatives and right-winged followers claim this is insanely disrespectful when the true sacrifice is going to war for your country. Support the troops, they say, the ones who died for your freedom, they say. These people also burned their Nike products.

And on the other end, the liberal and left-winged followers are applauding Mr. Kaepernick and the Nike advertising geniuses who penned this statement. They say that yes, Colin Kaepernick is the perfect example of sacrifice. The man had the entire world at his fingertips. He not only sacrificed his entire career, but he also sacrificed an opportunity to make millions of dollars, endorsement deals, and the ability to be well- liked. He has gone through criticism and discrimination, for simply using his platform to peacefully protest. For having his right to free speech. Colin Kaepernick should be remembered for his sacrifices, and be praised for it.

Now, Colin Kaepernick won’t always be remembered for the tremendous athletic plays that he has made on the field, or for his Super Bowl 47 appearance. Both are quickly forgotten in the fast world of sports. And yet, with the help of Nike, Kaepernick has done something that won’t be forgotten: he is the creator of a movement. A movement that has not energized select individuals, but minorities as a whole. A movement that is fighting to become equal. A movement that is working towards eliminating stigmas, and creating one, united race. Kaepernick had everything to lose and nothing to gain, but his dream was crazy.

Nike not only has properly executed an ad, but has used their platform to aid Kaepernick and his dream. The company ran a huge risk by creating this ad. It was a marketing work of art, and it is creating conversations in households across the globe. Shoutout to Nike, for not just creating an ad that would in turn get people talking about your products, but for reminding us that crazy is far from impossible.