Some Nike customers have been showing their displeasure with the brand over its decision to use football player Colin Kaepernick in ads.
First, it was Yeti coolers and the NRA. Now, it’s Nike gear and Colin Kaepernick.
The latter makes little more sense than the former.
Nike fans are fuming mad because the brand introduced Kaepernick as one of several athletes who’ll participate in the 30th anniversary celebration of its “Just Do It” campaign.
They’re so angry, in fact, that some have posted on social media their own Nike gear going up in flames or being otherwise destroyed. While they certainly make a point with such actions, they’re also making themselves seem a bit silly, since Nike already has their money.
Kaepernick’s kneel seen as ‘slap in face’ to veterans
In the ad, Kaepernick’s face is shown with the text, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
There’s no doubt that he’s a controversial figure because of the way he chose to protest social injustice: taking a knee during the national anthem at NFL football games. Other players from other teams began following suit, prompting ire among football fans.
Taking a knee, otherwise known as kneeling, instead of standing tall with hand over heart is seen by some as a smack in the face to veterans.
President Donald Trump said Nike’s selection of Kaepernick sends a “terrible message.”
On the other hand, Kaepernick’s protest is seen by others as perfectly appropriate, since those veterans fought for our freedom, which includes the right to not stand tall with hand over heart if we so desire.
To be clear, in the past, I’ve argued against this kind of protest just as I’ve argued against burning the flag. My position is not remotely based on any idea that the cause is a bad one. Instead, my point has been that the gesture itself causes so much anger that the message being sent often gets lost in the furor over the act itself. That’s unfortunate and it can even do an injustice to the cause of social justice because the anger can keep legitimate, thoughtful conversations from taking place.
This does not change the fact, however, that anyone who wishes to take part in such a protest has the right to do so.
The anti-Nike protestors are missing an opportunity.
If the people who are so eager to jump on the “hate Nike” bandwagon, and if they truly think our veterans are the target of this ad campaign, they’re doing it wrong.
If they’re so offended and truly believe Kaepernick is disrespecting our veterans, here’s a much better, much more responsible way to respond: donate those expensive shoes and clothes to homeless veterans.
That way, they’d be supporting the very people they’re so insistent Kaepernick is “turning his back on.”
And since they’ve already spent money on those Nike items, at least their money would be going to a worthwhile cause.
Pitching a conniption over whom Nike chooses for one of multiple ads seems to accomplish so little…other than burning their own hard-earned dollars.