Colin Kaepernick Controversy

Nike picked controversial star and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be the face of their 30th anniversary advertisement.


Joseph Frescott , Sports Editor

As many people are already aware, Nike picked controversial star and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be the face of their 30th anniversary advertisement that aired in the first NFL game of the season. This decision has brought on a lot of controversy to Nike, as some people loved, or hated the idea of having this controversial star as the face of Nike.

Kaepernick was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL draft and played in the NFL for 6 seasons. The peak of his career came in the 2012-2013 season, when he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl (XLVII) against the Ravens. Although they lost, his playoff run led to his stardom. He signed an extension that offseason for the 49ers and it appeared likely that he would become a top quarterback in the NFL. However, he never reached that level of play again, and it continued to get worse for his career.

On September 1st, 2017, he first began to protest during the anthem. In his first game of the season, he sat on the bench during the anthem. Afterwards, he went to a friend, looking for a more respectable way to protest the anthem while respecting the flag. That was when he was suggested to kneel, as it showed respect to the flag and the soldiers, but protested his belief. His overall reason for kneeling is to protest the racial injustice against minorities in America. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick stated in an interview after a game in 2017 ( This led to a downward spiral that saw him out of the league the next year because of this anthem protest. Teams did not want his “distraction” on their team and subsequently he has been left unemployed. Despite being singled out, other athletes have taken a stand and have supported Kaepernick through the whole process. Notable celebrities such as LeBron James and Stevie Wonder have taken his side on this issue and have spoken out as well.

Kaepernick’s protests of racial injustice and police brutality have led to a divide in opinions for many people. Some groups believe that Kaepernick’s silent protest of kneeling for the anthem is disrespectful to the flag and America as a whole. From their perspective, they believe there are better alternatives to kneeling and that this is a sign of disrespect to our soldiers who fight for our country’s freedom everyday. One of the most prominent opposers of this movement is our president, Donald Trump. He went on record saying that “when somebody disrespects our flag, [owners should] say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,” clearly indicating his hatred towards the movement and disrespect of the flag ( After the ad aired, many people threatened to boycott Nike apparel, some going as far as burning their shoes and other apparel.   

However, the other side believes that it is Kaepernick’s right to protest and that he is bringing attention towards an issue that needs to be brought to light. Police brutality and racial injustice has been a big issue in America for decades. Racism and racial injustice is unfortunately still an issue today in the US. Within the last two years, there has been numerous videos of police shootings and brutality against clearly defenseless victims. These police brutalities are clearly a problem that need to be addressed and Kaepernick’s protest has brought these issues into the media’s attention.

By using Kaepernick as the face of their ad campaign, Nike declared their stance on this issue and brought themselves a lot of media attention, positive and negative. Although people have threatened to boycott Nike products, this has not affected their sales. Their stock has gone down, but they have sold 61% more merchandise since the ad launched. Moreover, they have made $6 billion since the ad launched with a 31% increase in overall sales, clearly indicating that this ad was an overall success (

Regardless of what you believe in, when it comes to Kaepernick and his protests, you have to respect his determination to stay true to what he believes in. Through this whole process, he has stuck firm to his belief and protesting the anthem, a courageous effort when it means losing everything you have worked your whole life towards. As the ad reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”