Nike launches new ad campaign

Protesting racial injustice and police brutality, Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, knelt during the National Anthem on Aug. 14, 2016 at the beginning of the first game of the season. On Sept. 4, Nike released a commercial celebrating their 30th Anniversary of their Just Do It campaign, with Kaepernick as the face of it.

“He has showed us all that police brutality and oppression exist to this very day,” said Ido Dukler, Junior.

Dukler also believes that Nike made a great decision in Kaepernick and because many people use their products, their message will spread quickly.

Since Kaepernick’s protest, players such as Marshawn Lynch, the entire Raiders offensive line and numerous other players have followed suit, kneeling with their arms enlocked with their teammates during the National Anthem or staying seated on the bench. This has prompted responses from fans, politicians and NFL officials alike. Kaepernick opted out of his 49ers contract that year, but found no other team willing to sign him.

“They are just exercising their first amendment rights and I think that it is wonderful that they are using that platform,” said Willa Stonecipher, senior.

Although students may be in support of Kaepernick’s decision, many others do not share the same sentiment. President Trump claimed that Nike made a terrible decision and they are “getting absolutely killed.” Nike did experience a 3.2 percent drop in sales that day, but also gained roughly $43 million worth of media exposure. Seven days later, their online sales have jumped over 31 percent.

“I think a major corporation like Nike supporting social justice is great for the movement,” said Colin Kremault, senior. Cremault also supports players’ right to protest, even if that means kneeling during the national anthem.

Nike’s release of their campaign sparked outrage but also widespread support. Many people were in favor of Nike and their rights as a private company, standing behind their message: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Others, however, could not accept that Kaepernick was the face of their campaign and began boycotting and burning their own Nike products.

This is not the first time Nike has used its brand to advocate social change. The company has also run campaigns centered around AIDS stigma, gender equality, disability, religion and many other controversial problems, drawing support and attention from consumers everywhere.

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