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Controversial Kaepernick Nike Ad Forces Students to Pick a Side

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Controversial Kaepernick Nike Ad Forces Students to Pick a Side

Kaepernick Campaign: Nike's ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, is met with strong support and opposition.

Kaepernick Campaign: Nike's ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, is met with strong support and opposition.

Nike

Kaepernick Campaign: Nike's ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, is met with strong support and opposition.

Nike

Nike

Kaepernick Campaign: Nike's ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, is met with strong support and opposition.

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“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” is plastered on the face of Colin Kaepernick, former NFL quarterback-turned-protester, as a part of Nike’s latest ad campaign. The campaign comes on the heels of Kaepernick’s much-discussed social activism campaign that saw the San Francisco 49ers signal-caller kneeling during the national anthem before each NFL game in order to protest police brutality and racial inequality in America. His actions garnered both severe criticism and broad support. There were many athletes and celebrities who stood by Kaepernick and other NFL players who adopted the kneeling gesture. By no less a critic than President Donald Trump called out Kaepernick and his allies for what the president called a lack of patriotism and disrespect to the nation’s military.

After the 2016 NFL season, Kaepernick was not signed by any NFL team, and has now sued the NFL for collusion and blackballing him due to his controversial protests.

The announcement of the Nike campaign set the internet on fire, and soon millions of people were either burning Nike products or voicing their support for Kaepernick. The ad made its debut on September 6 during a “Thursday Night Football” game between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. The ad was both praised and panned. As would be expected, there is mixed opinions among North Atlanta student as well. “Colin Kaepernick is not a class act under any circumstances,” said a sophomore who chose not to be identified. “He and Nike have no respect for the hard working troops who risk their lives for the flag.”

For some, Kaepernick’s protest is a powerful movement that is just fighting for change. For some, it’s completely disrespectful to the whole nation and everyone who fights for it. And for some, it just doesn’t really matter at all. “I don’t really have a problem with what Kaepernick does,” said sophomore Ty Hubbard, “I think it’s fine for him to express his beliefs, and it doesn’t affect me so I’m alright with it.”

The Kaepernick saga is far from over. The Nike ad has brought the controversial topic to the forefront again, along with the recent signing of safety Eric Reid to the Carolina Panthers. Reid, a one-time teammate of Kaepernick’s at San Francisco, was a prominent part of the kneeling cohort.

With Reid’s signing, questions are starting to abound again: Why not Kaepernick? And is he actually being blackballed due to his beliefs? Kaepernick’s NFL future is in doubt. He just turned 30 — making him long in the tooth for an NFL athlete — and he’s been out of the league for a whole season.

“Believe in Something” the new Nike ads tell us to do. And because of the hotly contested question of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, believing in something is exactly what the issue is forcing us all to do.

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