Just don’t burn it: Nike’s ad campaign faces backlash

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Bridget Kelley

More stories from Bridget Kelley

Growing Up
April 16, 2019

As the new face of Nike, Colin Kaepernick has the internet heated — literally

Former+San+Francisco+quarterback+Colin+Kaepernick+was+born+in+Milwaukee.+According+to+BlackPast.org%2C+he+graduated+from+the+University+of+Nevada+in+Reno+before+being+drafted+in+2011+by+the+49ers.+
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Just don’t burn it: Nike’s ad campaign faces backlash

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee. According to BlackPast.org, he graduated from the University of Nevada in Reno before being drafted in 2011 by the 49ers.

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee. According to BlackPast.org, he graduated from the University of Nevada in Reno before being drafted in 2011 by the 49ers.

Photo by blackpast.org

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee. According to BlackPast.org, he graduated from the University of Nevada in Reno before being drafted in 2011 by the 49ers.

Photo by blackpast.org

Photo by blackpast.org

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick was born in Milwaukee. According to BlackPast.org, he graduated from the University of Nevada in Reno before being drafted in 2011 by the 49ers.

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When Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, I don’t think he could have imagined where he’d end up today. Despite being one of the best quarterbacks of the NFL, Kaepernick became a household name in 2016 during a 49ers preseason game when he did not stand for the playing of the national anthem.

Instead, the quarterback sat down and, in later games,  took a knee in protest of the racial injustice in the United States, citing police brutality among his reasons for protesting.

“If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right,” Kaepernick said in an interview with NFL Media.

After the 2016 season, Kaepernick left the 49ers and is currently not signed with a team. However, Kaepernick has recently become the face of one of the biggest sports brands, Nike.

Nike released their 30th-anniversary “Just Do It” campaign Sept. 3. The ad features a black and white photo of the former 49ers quarterback with white lettering on top that reads “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” referencing Kaepernick’s protests as well as sacrificing his job, for which he has brought a case against NFL owners.

The campaign, like Kaepernick, faces backlash.

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” President Donald Trump said in a tweet Sept. 5. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?”

Besides the backlash from the president, Nike is facing negativity from customers, who are protesting the brand. Protesters are burning their apparel  and posting it online with the hashtag #JustBurnIt.

This is where I have a problem. People are burning perfectly good clothing items to make a point. I’m all for political protests, but I feel as though those clothing items could be put to better use.

There are people who only dream of a new pair of shoes. Like the campaign or not, no one should try to make a statement by burning clothes that could very easily be donated. A better way to show one’s patriotism is to protest in a non-violent, non-wasteful manner.

There are many ways to protest. Whether you’re protesting racial inequality or protesting an ad campaign, protesting is American to its core. Thank you, First Amendment.

Kelley can be reached at [email protected].

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