Nike Signs Colin Kaepernick to an Endorsement Deal

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“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

That is the slogan for Nike’s 30th annual “just do it” advertising campaign. These two sentences alone are not what inspired such controversy around the ad; however, it is the face behind the text that outraged many. Colin Kaepernick, most well known for being the catalyst of the NFL’s national anthem protests, has been signed to an endorsement deal by Nike.

Kaepernick has been signed to a deal that rivals those of star professional athletes, and Nike has announced they will start producing Kaepernick apparel along with his own signature shoe. As a member of this campaign, he will be provided the same platform as fellow star athletes such as Serena Williams and LeBron James. This news appears as Kaepernick is also in the middle of a legal dispute with the National Football League.

In October 2017, he filed a grievance against the NFL that stated that the NFL had colluded to keep him out of the league due to his social-justice activism. On the Thursday prior to the release of this ad, it was announced by the arbitrator of the case that the grievance would not be dismissed, despite the NFL’s request.

After beginning these protests in 2016, Kaepernick sparked what turned into a wildfire of arguments around social-justice, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the National Anthem itself. According to his mission statement on his website,, his goals are  “to fight oppression of all kinds globally, through education and social activism.” These actions by Kaepernick and his peers garnered the criticism from everyone from an average NFL fan, to NFL owners, to the President of the United States himself.

“I think it’s a terrible message,” said President Trump in an interview with the Daily Caller following the release of  Kaepernick’s advertisement. “It is what this country is all about, that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn’t do, but I personally am on a different side of it.”

The fallout from these protests has yielded a variety of results. From Kaepernick left without a job in football, to the team owners threats to release anyone who protests the anthem, to the NFL’s construction of an entirely new National Anthem policy, the protests have provided for a topic of debate for multiple years.

“I think Colin Kaepernick started a revolutionary trend to bring recognition to police brutality. The NFL has tried to slash his reputation and career. Uptight and ignorant people have gone to lengths of burning Nikes over a movement of tired people who want change,” said Ayrton Rai, Senior.

Now that Kaepernick has received this new contract, a new wave of outrage has been put into motion. People throughout the country have announced they will be boycotting the Nike brand due to their affiliation with Kaepernick. Nike stock has dropped three points and videos have circulated social media of people cutting the Nike logo out of their clothes and burning their shoes.

“I still think kneeling is disrespectful towards the flag and therefore our country. I do not agree with the signing of a man who, in my opinion, portrays a bad example of patriotism,” said Andy Via, Senior.

The black and white shot of Kaepernick’s face, accompanied by the simple two-sentence phrase, has once again revived a conversation around these controversial topics. Ahead of the opening game of the NFL season on September 6, the New York Times has reported that Nike purchased airtime from NBC in order to debut its first commercial with Kaepernick featured. Even if he is not playing on Sundays, Kaepernick is set to continue the debate he helped start two years ago.