To celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Just Do It Campaign, Nike took a knee with Colin Kaepernick. The multi-billion-dollar apparel giant announced that they would have Kaepernick be the face of the line.
As an NFL free-agent, Kaepernick was last on an NFL roster in 2016 when he started kneeling during the National Anthem as a protest to police brutality and the killing of unarmed black people. Nike’s foresight into signing Kaepernick could not have been a better decision for financial and societal reasons.
After the announcement, many people started to burn their Nike apparel and posted videos to social media explaining how they were furious at the stance Nike was taking by signing Kaepernick.
But many more people chimed in online through various platforms applauding the move.
Since the announcement of the partnership, Nike’s online sales have spiked over 31 percent, according to CNBC.com. Hopefully other industry leaders come out in support of socially progressive issues after seeing Nike’s results.
By using Kaepernick as the face of their line, Nike is taking a stance on social and racial injustice and supporting basic rights for citizens. The number of people who oppose the message of Kaepernick and Nike far outweigh its supporters.
Nike has embraced the issue of social justice and inequality Kaepernick brought to the forefront, while the 32 NFL owners have been pushing back on this issue.
Since kneeling in 2016, Kaepernick has not been on a roster after that season and is currently unsigned.
Nike took a calculated gamble by signing Kaepernick. They were hoping that the people who were on his side would outweigh critics of the move. Their decision has paid off, since the ads ran Nike has dominated the traditional news cycle, and been a trending topic across social media platforms. As the adage goes, no publicity is bad publicity and Nike is rolling in the free engagement they are getting every time some angry white Trump supporter burns their already paid for shoes. Kaepernick has secured millions of dollars to be the face of their line while Nike has taken a stance on issues that many companies in their position would not.
But he is suing the NFL for collusion over not receiving interest as a free-agent, and not being signed because of his protests. His case recently got the approval for a trial and is set to start later this year.