On Monday, Sept. 3, Nike premiered a new series of “Just Do It” ads, and headlining the promotion was former football player Colin Kaepernick. The ad reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Since its debut, the ad has garnered both praise and criticism.Some have praised Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick, but others have scrutinized Nike, to the point people are taking pictures or shooting video of themselves destroying Nike products. The company remains firm with its decision, which is equal parts commendable and dangerous.
In recent years, the topic of racial injustice in our society has become a point of concern. Many stories of white police officers using excessive force to take down African American suspects have become more and more frequent. Not helping matters is the increase of white supremacist rallies around the country and questionable choices of rhetoric used by the President of the United States.
It’s not surprising people like Colin Kaepernick would speak out against these incidents. His decision to sit down during the National Anthem in 2016 sparked a fire which grew in size the following year when various teams started taking a knee or sitting in the locker room as a form of peaceful protest. Nike’s new ad has re-ignited the fire, and given how much has happened in our country, we shouldn’t be afraid to speak out.
The meaning of the ad is ironic. Kaepernick is someone who’s risked a lot; namely, his profession of being a football player, in order to say something about what’s going on, and it’s his choice. Nike is a multi-billion-dollar company that has made its name by selling lots of athletic gear including shoes and jock straps, and all it’s doing is trying to give its legendary motto of “Just Do It” some new life.
To those who are outraged by Nike’s decision; remember, it’s just an ad. Sooner or later, Nike will bring in a new spokesperson to replace their current one. Similarly, the hubbub surrounding Nike’s decision to use Kaepernick will die down and be replaced by a new story involving someone who dared to try and speak out about a problem in our country.
That’s the thing, though, people shouldn’t be afraid to make a difference, but we are. As we get older and become more mature in mind, strength and discipline, we should be able to make our own decisions, preferably ones that are good and benefit others. Conforming to what we’re told is not good, and like Nike’s ad says, if you believe in something, a life goal or career you want to pursue, you can achieve it, so long as you’re willing to take risks.
Colin Kaepernick is a former football player who’s tired of the racial injustice going on in America and wants to make a difference. Seeing his motivation, Nike decided to use him for an ad that motivates people to do more than what they’re capable of in order to make a difference. If you feel there’s an issue being left unaddressed, speak out on it and do something about it, much like Kaepernick.