Just Did It!

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Just Did It!

A large billboard stands on top of a Nike store showing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback (Colin Kaepernick).

A large billboard stands on top of a Nike store showing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback (Colin Kaepernick).

A large billboard stands on top of a Nike store showing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback (Colin Kaepernick).

A large billboard stands on top of a Nike store showing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback (Colin Kaepernick).

Shana Risby, Reporter

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Nike did just that! Nike recently sparked controversy in their recent 30-year anniversary ad of their “Just Do It” campaign.  In this ad Nike highlighted various athletes ranging from Lebron James and Serena Williams to special Olympic athletes who truly beat the odds. Amongst these athletes, Nike decided to bring former football quarterback Colin Kaepernick to the for front,  making him the new face of the “Just Do it” campaign.   

In the featured ad, Colin Kaepernick’s picture was taken in black and white with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” written across the photo. That is exactly what he did. In 2016, Kaepernick was seen by the world after a photo of him kneeling during the National Anthem went viral. Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem as a peaceful protest against police brutality and recent racial tensions towards people of color. As a result of Kaepernick’s protest, he was removed from his former NFL team, the San Francisco 49ers, and has been a free agent for almost two years now. He felt as if he was blacklisted by the NFL.  

Nike received backlash and criticism from their own supporters after making Kaepernick the face of their campaign. President Donald Trump is amongst these people who are outraged by this action. After the launch of the ad, Trump later tweeted, “What was Nike thinking?” In another interview President Trump had with The Daily Caller, he called the Nike campaign terrible, stating, “maybe there’s a reason for them doing it, but I think as far as sending a message, I think it’s a terrible message and a message that shouldn’t be sent. There’s no reason for it.” The public had their own response to the ad as well. Many people video tapped themselves burning their Nike products, cutting out Nike symbols, as well as throwing away their Nike gear. These videos and pictures were posted on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook using the hashtag ‘Nikeboycott’. A Louisiana mayor of the city of Kenner, even took matters into his own hands by banning clubs from buying Nike products. This included getting any deliveries of Nike products to any clubs that were funded through the city’s recreational department. 

Despite the backlash Nike received, there were more people in support of this decision as opposed. According to the Quinnipiac University Poll ages 18-34 are 65% in support of the Nike advertisement, while only 30% disapproved leaving 5% of the voters staying neutral. There have been many speculations that Nike was losing money during this campaign, but Nike’s recent data showed otherwise. Since the ad launched Nike has received a 31% increase in online sales, which is more than they usually receive around this time of year. Last year Nike received 17% percent in their online sales during this similar time last year.

Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey is amongst the bestselling jerseys in the NFL currently. Many celebrities have went about praising Nike and Kaepernick for their success with “Just Do It” campaign. Blackish TV star Jenifer Lewis wore a red and black Nike sweater with the word “Nike” written in white across the front, on the runway of the Emmys, with her hair picked out into an afro to show her support.  Other celebrities took to their social media to show their support by reposting the advertisement and responded to the individuals who videotaped themselves burning their Nike apparel.  

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