Within the world of sports, there are those who can market it. The super bowl is defined in part by its commercials, sports teams are recognized by their clothing lines and spectators wonder if that player simply got the winning point just because he was wearing Under Armor and drank Gatorade. Sports commercials appear all the time, and most audiences don’t seem to mind how Nike decides to display their slogan, “Just do it,” in continuously new and innovative ways. No one did anything relatively crazy because of Nike commercial, until Colin Kaepernick was one of their spokespersons.
When I heard the name Colin Kaepernick, I dumbfoundedly responded with, “Who?” I didn’t care much about it, but some American audiences cared deeply. This commercial celebrated the 30th anniversary of Nike’s iconic slogan, and the main theme of the commercial was, “Dream crazy.” The commercial strings together a series of inspiring stories about humankind’s unbridled physicality as well as the life stories of a few specific athletes and how they overcame incredible odds. There does not appear to be anything innately controversial about this commercial, but apparently there was something about this one that made some Nike product owners rip off the Nike labels from their clothes while others burned their Nike gear.
When I heard Kaepernick, say “dream crazy,” I do not believe he intended for people to then act crazy. Bill Reiter, a CBS sports reporter, says he is “stunned, as well as a lot of people around the country…this anthem’s protest is one of the most divisive in the history of sports.” Perhaps the main reason Reiter says this is because most sports fans are not presently pleased with Kaepernick, former 49ers football player.
In the year 2016 Kaepernick became infamous for kneeling, during the National Anthem at football games. He did this in order to protest police brutality against people of color stating, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color…this is bigger than football.” After being told by U.S. veterans it was respectful to kneel for the flag as a sign of respect and reverence, Kaepernick kneeled, during the national anthem at all of his subsequent games. When Nike made Kaepernick their spokesperson, several Americans had a fiery reaction towards this.
Several people in response to Kaepernick’s commercial have burned their Nike gear, including shoes and shirts, and as a result #BurnYourNikeGear has become a popular hashtag. Despite the wide destruction of Nike branded sports apparel, Nike’s Vice President of brand North America claims, “[Nike believes] Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward.”
Sources: NFL, Mike, YouTube