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Nike Commercial Controversy

Sep 21, 2018
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Earlier this September, Nike released a two-minute commercial that featured popular sports athletes. This ad would celebrate Nike’s 30th anniversary and featured the typical “Just Do It” tagline in the commercial. Along with the notorious line, each celebrity presented their own quote. The quotes deal with defying the odds and how to keep on going strong. Some prominent athletes who participated were Lebron James and Serena Williams. However, one of the celebrities has gained controversy.

Colin Kaepernick was a 49ers football player who became known for kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016. He was called out about it by many people who thought it was disrespectful to the flag and the country. Kaepernick decided to take a knee during the anthem to protest racial issues in the nation, such as systematic racism and the killing of innocent men, women, and children by police officers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview after one of his games in 2016, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Many people took offense to his words, claiming that he was disrespecting the men and women who died for this country. Other’s were inspired by his protest and supported the football player. This caused discussion on whether or not it should be considered a peaceful protest or downright uncivil. He was eventually called out by President Donald Trump on Twitter saying that the NFL should fire Kaepernick for this action. His contract was not renewed a year later and he lost his position in the National Football League (NFL) in 2017.

This 2018 commercial led to some negative backlash by a certain group of individuals to have their own protest. On Twitter, people featured images and videos of cutting off Nike’s logo from their socks. Some even destroyed their shoes. Trump responded by saying that Nike “is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.” However, Nike’s stock barely went down 3% on Tuesday and went up after that. The amount of attention they gained on social media was shockingly beneficial for the company. It helped them gain more exposure on social media sites.

Overall, the controversy still lives. Nevertheless, the commercial’s main purpose is to strike inspiration into every viewer. It never mentioned anything about Kaepernick’s football career specifically, only referenced it slightly.  The ad showed examples of people who managed to beat the odds and accomplish their dreams despite their struggles, an inspiring image for anyone no matter who they are.

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