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Update on Kaepernick

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Update on Kaepernick

Eva Christopher

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Nike’s campaign with football player Colin Kaepernick has continued to provoke dissension as more and more college sports fans contact their favorite programs to either support or discourage players from wearing Nike apparel. Despite criticism, Nike still benefits from its partnership with the controversial athlete. About a month and a half after the first video advertisement was released to solidify the endorsement*, a new long-sleeved “Kaepernick Icon Tee” was unveiled. The t-shirts with Kaepernick’s name across the back, two Nike swooshes on the shoulders, and the campaign’s tagline written in small print on the right forearm sold out online within hours of their release.

 

The NFL is currently experiencing a shortage of adequate starting quarterbacks a result of early season injuries. Sports analysts have concluded that teams’ disinterest with Kaepernick’s talent is a response to his political vocality. Pop star Rihanna reportedly declined an invitation to perform at the 2019 Super Bowl because of the NFL’s poor treatment of Kaepernick. Comedian Amy Schumer said on Instagram that she will not be featured in a Super Bowl commercial, also in support of Kaepernick and to boycott the NFL.

 

Though controversy continues to cloud the issues about which Kaepernick seeks to raise awareness, he has received positive attention for his promotional efforts. On October 11, Harvard University presented Kaepernick with the esteemed W.E.B. Du Bois Medal in recognition of his contributions to the African American community. In his acceptance speech, Kaepernick referenced the slogan of his Nike campaign and acknowledged the consequences of his protests. “If we all believe in something,” he said, “we won’t have to sacrifice everything.”

 

*See September article “The Cost of Controversial Campaigns” for the full story

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