Colin Kaepernick’s football career may be on hold (for now) but it’s great to see him continuing what would appear to be a lucrative endorsement relationship with sports gear and apparel giant Nike.
And kudos to Nike for not shying away from the controversial Kaepernick, but instead embracing his right to express himself and making his value set the core of its new ad campaign.
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” That’s the message delivered in the new campaign.
The former 49er quarterback sacrificed his career with the simple act of taking a knee to protest the brutality that certain police departments around the nation have inflicted on the African-American community. You’d have to live under a rock not to believe that’s a problem that needs addressing.
But in 2016, lots of people took offense because he did it on a national stage as the national anthem was being played before NFL games. Disrespectful of the American flag, they argued.
Actually, I think Kaepernick was displaying a healthy respect for the flag and all that it stands for, which includes the right to express an opinion in the face of fervent opposition. It might have been an act of protest, but there was nothing disrespectful about it.
Protest is healthy. It's part of what democracy is about.
Since the founding of the republic, our nation’s miltary have defended that right and have sometimes paid the ultimate price and indeed sacrificed everything.
Having rights is one thing. Sometimes, it takes courage to actually exercise those rights. Which is exactly what Kaepernick and Nike are doing right now.