Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Colin Kaepernick becomes the new face of Nike following his leave of the NFL.
By Meg Taylor, News Editor
Many corporations make marketing decisions based on the bottom line, but Nike’s brave decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in its latest campaign proves that the bottom line is only part of the equation.
Kaepernick was a bold choice for the brand because he has become a leading figure of player protest against racial injustice and police brutality by sitting and eventually kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 NFL season. The free-agent also filed a lawsuit against the league claiming they were colluding to keep the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback out of the NFL for the past two years.
Along with Nike’s motto “just do it,” the campaign features a close-up, black and white photo of Kaepernick covered with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
For Kaepernick, he chose to protest the important social issue over his professional career. He did, in fact, sacrifice a lot. In salary alone, Kaepernick sacrificed millions of dollars a year.
The ad caused an uproar of hate on social media, with some burning their shoes and others cutting the swoosh off their Nike jerseys. In fact, President Trump tweeted, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way,” said Trump. “As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”
But it doesn’t mean the protests or the tweet will tarnish the $91 billion dollar empire. According to Frank Cappelleri, chief market technician at Instinet, said Nike stock fell about 5.5 percent from its August high to last week’s low, which was more than the major averages, but not that out of character for Nike.
NFL Executive Vice President Jocelyn Moore recently spoke to Fox News about the campaign. “The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” said Moore, “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
Being joined by Nike, Kaepernick no longer stands alone in his protests against social injustice. He continues on carrying the weight of the biggest athletic brand sponsoring major athletes and organizations along with Nike’s mass of dedicated supporters.