Fans are literally burning their Nike gear to protest Colin Kaepernick’s new Nike ad.
In 2016, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to make a public statement about how he felt about his country, but rather than use his words, he used a simple action to make his point. In protest against the racial profiling and police brutality that African-Americans face in the United States, he kneeled during the national anthem.
The response was immediate and powerful. There were many who believed that this peaceful protest was an interesting method to draw the public’s attention to the people of colour who have been abused and even killed by authorities, often while unarmed and surrendering to arrest. But not everyone felt this way; others were critical of Kaepernick’s protest, believing that it was un-American to refuse to sing and salute during The Star Spangled Banner, claiming that it was an insult to his country and the veterans who had served it.
Speaking about the protest, Kaepernick said:
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of colour.
To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.
Since 2017, Kaepernick has been without a team, with some stating that he has been ‘black-balled’ from the NFL for his actions. However, there are some institutions still standing by him, including Nike – who have now revealed the quarterback as the face of a new advertising campaign.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions. pic.twitter.com/h8kj6RXe7j
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
The same people saying liberals get offended too easily are literally destroying their wardrobes and cutting the clothes off of their body because a black athlete appeared in one advertisement. pic.twitter.com/ljQWhHmRn1
— Justin Horwitz (@Progressive_Pol) September 4, 2018
Gino Fisanotti, vice president of Nike’s brand for North America, described Kaepernick as “one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation”, telling ESPN that he “has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward”.
Merely hours after this campaign was revealed, along with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”, Kaepernick’s critics have taken their rage out on Nike. And not just Nike as a company, but the Nike products they have around the house.
People were destroying their trainers, cutting up socks and burning their Nike gear.
“First the NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country,” Twitter user Sean Clancy wrote alongside a video of a pair of Nike trainers ablaze. “I chose country. Then Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country.”
Many other Twitter users came out in full force to poke fun at their protests, and point out that destroying your own property isn’t really an effective means of boycotting a company.
This isn’t the only reason that Kaepernick has been back in the headlines recently. Ted Cruz’s main opponent in the senate race, Beto O’Rourke, had a powerful response to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem.