By the time you read this, the Nike campaign will probably no longer be the central topic of the news cycle, but that’s OK. I still think it deserves a little more attention.
If you’re upset by the campaign that Nike put forth, you really need to do some self-evaluation.
First off, Nike has been paying Colin Kaepernick for years. If you weren’t upset about Nike the last few years, then you don’t have a right to feign anger now. Your outrage is, as someone likes to put it, fake news.
It’s not news that Nike has a point of view, nor is it news that it pays Kaepernick a lot of money. It’s news that you know about it.
Secondly, watch the spot. Most of the people who are angry about this campaign are people I bet who have not set aside the two minutes and 20 seconds to watch the spot.
If you watched it and you’re still angry, then I respectfully say you’re a fool. The campaign is inspiring, and it is motivation for anyone who has ever played a sport.
I admit that I’m a sucker for a good sports story, and the stories inside those two-plus minutes are wonderful. They make me proud to have played sports and to be teaching my kids to play sports.
Sports is intended to be a unifying element of our culture, even when you factor in rivalries. It brings people together in conversation and debate, and it helps us to be healthy and whole.
Sports develops character. The people who are angry without having watched the spot are fools, and I might even question their character.
The campaign speaks to more than Kaepernick, and that’s why I think it’s great. The spot ends speaking about Serena Williams. Serena is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes to ever grace the world of sport (this past weekend’s situation notwithstanding). Notice I did not make a differentiation between male and female. She is one of the greatest athletes ever. You can debate that, but it is exactly what makes sports great — the fact that we can have this debate and be so supportive of our points.
Regarding Colin Kaepernick as a man, I can understand why some people get upset. They feel he is attacking their ideals (he isn’t). He admitted he didn’t vote in the last election, which undermines some of his credibility in my eyes, but I think it is somewhat overshadowed by the tenacity and persistence he has shown in defending his point of view.
Am I a fan of Kaepernick? Not really. Do I respect and honor his right to protest and make a point? Absolutely. Do I think Nike did a good thing featuring him in its ads? Yes.
Nike made a brilliant move. People are talking about the campaign, they are talking about Kaepernick, and they are talking about the issues he raised once again. Those issues need to be addressed and they need to be taken seriously by everyone from every walk of life.
I also think each and every person who has a problem with the campaign should look inside themselves and find the reasons why they are angry. The ability to have a point of view that you can freely express in this country is a right. Being human and open to other ideas and outside points of view is what makes you a human being.
Regardless of what side of the debate you sit on, being human means treating others as humans, and that should include listening to their point of view. You never have to agree, but you have to acknowledge there are always three sides to every story: your side, the opposite side and the truth. The truth always lies somewhere in the middle, between emotion and logic.
Will Nike sell more shoes? My guess is yes, it will. Will people start to act more like human beings? I certainly hope so.