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Nike advertisement sparks controversy

Colin Kaepernick is the face of a new advertisement for Nike in honor of the 30th anniversary of the

Nike

Colin Kaepernick is the face of a new advertisement for Nike in honor of the 30th anniversary of the "Just Do It" slogan

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Nike’s most recent advertisement featuring former San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick has sparked controversy around the country for all the wrong reasons.

The advertising campaign that was released in honor of the company’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan now has some boycotting and even burning Nike products while others are giving the company high praise.

Kaepernick drew media attention during the 2016 NFL season when he started sitting, and later kneeling, during the national anthem to draw attention to police brutality in America. Kaepernick’s peaceful protest, and those following it, soon developed into a nationwide debate that the NFL poorly handled. This resulted in a 10-percent viewership drop across the board. In May, the NFL finally set a policy for the anthem: Players on the field have to stand or face fines, and the rest of the athletes can stay in the locker room, if they choose.

Opponents of the protests, claim the players are disrespecting the flag and are unpatriotic. Kaepernick, in all of this mess, became the face of the protest. As of October last year, Kaepernick filed suit alleging NFL owners colluded to not hire him because of the controversy instead of looking at his abilities.

The issue was mostly swept under the rug with the upcoming season and the NFL finally setting guidelines. That was until Nike released the advertisement “Dream Crazy.” The complete commercial featuring sponsored athletes like Lebron James and Eliud Kipchoge revealed to the world that Nike is now, as many see it, supporting Kaepernick.

The backlash against Nike has simply been unnecessary. Nike made a stand for something it believed was right as a company and did it knowing it would make enemies in the process. Nike accepted the possible outcome and ran the ad, accepting the consequences.

Ironically, the company has benefitted, with sales up 31 percent since the release of the advertisement. The company’s stock rose to an all-time high of $83.47 per share. People who are burning Nike products and boycotting are forgetting the company can do without their support.

This entire movement has re-sparked the fire that once was the stand or kneel controversy. The only difference is the opposing group supporting standing is being truly tested, and it appears that it could not make the difference it had hoped for.

The country is divided once again over this issue. Americans are once again locked in a battle about the legitimacy of their patriotism. While we debate whether or not Nike should pay Kaepernick for truly a small advertisement in the scope of its marketing, Nike, like it or not, is one of the most valuable fashion companies in the world.

No matter how you feel about the campaign featuring Kaepernick, the facts speak for themselves. Nike has been succesful, is successful, and will continue to be successful. While some are cutting off the logos to their Nike socks, the rest of the country has realized that these “true patriots” have and will continue to accomplish nothing.

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About the Writer
Bram Mansbach, Sports Section Editor

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bmansbach@southerneronline.com

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