Student reacts to Nike protests in wake of Kaepernick sponsorship


Timeline of events by Sylvia Hodges '19

Sylvia Hodges '19, Supervising Copy Editor

Popular athletic company Nike recently caused yet another uproar in the political world after Colin Kaepernick secured an endorsement deal with the brand.  Kaepernick, a former NFL quarterback for the 49ers, has been at the center of great controversy in the last two years since he began to protest racial injustice in America by kneeling during the National Anthem at games.  Kaepernick’s actions were perceived by many to be disrespectful to the military.

But isn’t this exactly what our military fights for?

My whole life I’ve been taught that the military protects our rights to live freely as Americans.  Under the First Amendment, we have “the right to peaceably assemble,” or the right to protest. So, the military, in fact, protects Kaepernick’s right to peacefully protest as he did at those games.

Much of the grief against Kaepernick has been perpetuated by Donald Trump, using his favorite platform–his Twitter account–to discourage this action, telling players to “Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!” in a tweet from August 10.  Trump has also belittled the players’ actions, blindly stating that players “wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define.” in another tweet from August 10.

My issues with Trump and his statements are another topic entirely, however, the president is constantly proving he only selectively cares about the American public.  Issues on the racial injustice spectrum are ones he doesn’t care to give attention to, and I applaud Kaepernick and the countless other players who continue to bring our attention back to this cloud on our society.

Nike’s new ad has shown they are more supportive of pervasive social issues than many of our politicians on both sides of the political spectrum.  The company has used its platform to perpetuate understanding and tolerance instead of hatred and bigotry. It’s a relief to see social media used for something positive.

In response to the ad, many Nike customers showed their outrage by cutting up their already-purchased Nike gear.  People protested on social media with their cut-up socks and torn athletic shorts.

I found myself facepalming as I saw these displays.

Despite the negative media attention and initially losing market value after the ad announcement, Nike online sportswear sales grew 31 percent from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, according to The Hill.  

Colin Kaepernick is a true patriot.  He and other brave players are fighting for what they believe in a respectable and appropriate manner.

What could be more American?