Nike kneels with Kaepernick

Devon Greene , Editor-in-chief

On Monday evening, Nike announced a new campaign featuring the ostracized NFL player, Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has been at the center of a debate over disrespecting the American flag and national anthem after he began kneeling while the “Star Spangled Banner” played at the beginning of the 2016 NFL season. Since then, Kaepernick’s professional career has been brought to a halt after being blackballed by all 32 NFL franchises.

Kaepernick tweeted out a simple screenshot of the Nike ad on Monday as it read “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The words lay over a powerful black and white image of Kaepernick’s face looking directly into the camera. At the bottom of the image featured the iconic Nike logo and slogan “Just do it.”

The campaign was met with immediate backlash from those who disagree with Kaepernick’s stance on the issue. Those who disagree are often one in the same as those who have completely misunderstood the message that Kaepernick is trying to convey. They have made the anthem protest about the flag and about the military, while choosing to omit the words that Kaepernick has been saying since the origin of his protest.

It has never been about the military or the flag. This protest has always been about the mistreatment of people of color in this country. From news anchors on Fox News telling athletes to shut up and dribble, to the president of the United States calling athletes a “son of a b—-” for peacefully protesting, it is no wonder Kaepernick has seen an issue in the way that people of color are treated in this country.

Customers of Nike who have disagreed with Kaepernick and the ad campaign have posted videos of them burning their sneakers, shorts, socks and other products. Others have cut the logo off their products while claiming they will boycott the company. It’s a shame they decide to destroy perfectly good articles of clothing while the veterans they claim to care so much about are sitting on the streets begging for money and clothes.

About 11 percent of the adult homeless population are veterans and roughly 45 percent of those are African American or Hispanic. No matter what ethnicity, nationality or race our veterans are, they give their lives for this country, but we still seem to forget about them when they come back and need help. It hurts to see people who claim to care so much about them, burn and destroy valuable items that could help them by putting clothes on their back.

If you are against Nike’s ad campaign so vehemently that you have decided to boycott their products, donate it to a veteran’s shelter or Goodwill. Do something that benefits someone else rather than destroying your products out of spite for the company.

I am proud of Nike for their campaign. They took a massive risk promoting a man like Kaepernick with all the misinformation and controversy surrounding him, but they decided to support him anyway. I have supported Kaepernick from the beginning because I have listened to his words and watched his actions since the beginning of the protests.

Kaepernick may be kneeling for the anthem, but he is standing for people of color throughout the United States.