Colin himself has been undeterred by his early and undeserved retirement from the NFL. He completed his 1 Million pledge for underserved communities by giving the privilege to other celebrities of also joining him in his endeavor. His dedication led to left-leaning comedians like Dave Chappelle to also start a fund for him to encourage public figures to stand for something bigger than themselves fearlessly!
Eventually, this political fervor streamlines itself into sports especially the NFL affecting their viewership and advertisers. The NFL in turn steered by predominantly white and politically conservative owners has a player base which is nearly 80% black and predominantly left-leaning and was at a critical impasse. They were caught between their conservative and liberal interests, losing equivocally from both ends. Left with no choice the racial divide within the league coupled with head trauma controversies and a militant culture that suppressing expression and individuality among its players had irredeemably marred NFL’s identity.
Nike is the official apparel and merchandise maker for the NFL. They thought long and hard and took a calculated risk. They went with Colin Kaepernick as their representative face for the new season. Nike rolled out a preview of its 30th anniversary ‘Just Do It’ ad. This year its signature campaign featured the face of a non-conformist untouched and unfiltered, with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The image was striking, but the nine words far more. It brought to attention the embattled quarterback’s stance against police violence and institutional racism, which began two seasons ago when Kaepernick started kneeling on the field during the national anthem. Nike’s North America vice-president for brand marketing told ESPN:
With its new ad, Nike has thrust Kaepernick – and the professional sacrifice he made for his political beliefs – back into the center of football and broader political conversation. Many presumed this was done at a heavy price. They even believed Nike would pay dearly with plunging stocks when people not only burned their Nike branded jersey’s and shows but even started switching their allegiances to Adidas, Brooks or Converse – which few know are also owned by Nike. Funnily the plunging Nike stock recovered two-fold after a dip of 3%. Now they are not only elated because of a sales boost from the Kaepernick ad but have continued to supplement the up and coming NFL teams. Alternative brands to Nike are also tainted with mutually inclusive shareholders, this is as close as it gets to a dream come true.