Last Monday (Sept. 3, 2018), it was announced that none other than NFL player Colin Kaepernick would be the face of Nike’s “Just Do It “30th-anniversary campaign.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, or you’ve been the 21st-century version of Rip Van Winkle, you know that Colin Kaepernick has been an extremely controversial figure as of late. He’s the football player that began the silent protest of kneeling while The National Anthem is played during games, as a rally against police violence towards unarmed African-Americans. The protest caused division between many people, with some seeing Colin as a courageous hero, and others thinking he’ s showing blatant disrespect to the flag and the country’s veterans. Colin kneeling during games has stirred up so much controversy, that he hasn’t played for a team since being cut from the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, and he is still going toe-to-toe with the NFL to get his career going again.
Needless to say, the second the news hit, Colin and Nike were trending on Twitter, and remained a trending topic well into the very next day. There was even talk of a Nike boycott (which also became a trending topic).
Now for my thoughts…I’m happy that Nike chose Colin Kaepernick to headline their campaign. I’m sure this opinion may anger a few people, and I may even lose a few followers, but I’ve always said that with this blog, I’m going to keep it 100%, and I’m doing just that. Why I am happy that Colin is being endorsed by Nike? Because Colin Kaepernick is a brave soul that’s standing up for an egregious injustice that’s been happening in this country for far too long, and I will always love him for that.
I’ve seen many arguments over the years stating that the black men that have been shot by police officers could’ve easily avoided their fates if they had just cooperated with police, or didn’t make any sudden moves, or hadn’t been breaking the law in the first place. However, I find it funny that Dylann Roof was quietly taken into custody after slaughtering nine innocent people in a church (he was still armed with a weapon when he was taken into custody, according to CNN), but Stephon Clark was gunned down in his grandmother’s backyard for breaking car windows. Clark was only armed with a cellphone. Travis Reinking, also known as “The Waffle House Shooter,” killed four people at the restaurant and was found the next day, also armed with a weapon. He was arrested without incident. A year and a half earlier, a policeman pulled Philando Castile over for a routine traffic stop. Castile informed the cop that he had a licensed firearm, but when he reached to get his license as the policemen instructed him to, the cop opened fire seven times. Castile died in front of the mother of his child, and his 4-year-old daughter. The officer was later acquitted.
Even if someone wants to argue regarding the cases of Stephon Clark, Philando Castile, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling or any other black man (or woman; see Sandra Bland) that’s been shot and/or killed by police, it’s pretty hard to argue regarding the case of Tamir Rice. Tamir was a 12 yr. old child that was killed after the police mistook his toy gun for a real one. I feel like if Travis Reinking and Dylann Roof could’ve been safely placed in police custody after viciously snuffing out innocent people, at the very least, Tamir could’ve gone back home to his family with a stern warning not to fool around with a realistic looking gun.
To add insult to injury, lately there’s been an epidemic of people calling the cops on unarmed black folks—knowing what the possible outcome could be—simply for living their lives. Apparently, black people nowadays aren’t allowed to:
- Use charcoal grills in parks
- Sell bottled water
- Cut grass
- Fall asleep in college residential hall lobbies (I’m glad people weren’t “cop crazy” when I was at Clemson; I did this on multiple occasions)
- Visit his/her community pool
- Visit a friend’s community pool (apparently, this “offense” gives the person calling the authorities the right to put his/her hands on you)
- Visit a community pool while wearing socks
- Sit in Starbucks without ordering (I’m guilty of this “crime” too)
- Eat at Waffle House (and I always loved Waffle House)
The sad thing is that a lot of these aforementioned incidents involved the police being called on young children, ranging in age from eight to 15.
These are all the reasons (and there’s so many others I don’t have time to name) Kap knelt for the National Anthem, and it’s the reason other players have been encouraged to kneel. He’s not disrespecting the flag or the military. To be honest, when the news first hit that Colin would headline the “Just Do It” campaign, I noticed that many men and women that served the country—both black and white—let it be known that they supported Colin’s cause and understood what it was for. Our country was founded on the mantra of “liberty and justice for all,” and that “all men are created equal.” It’s time the United States of America lives up to those standards. I’m glad Nike sees that, and I’m glad that Colin Kaepernick is the face of their campaign.
—-Written by Nadiya
What do you think about Colin Kaepernick being the face of the 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign? Do you believe his protest is disrespectful to the flag and the military, or do you believe he’s fighting for the rights of African-Americans? Do you believe that people unjustly call the police on black people for simply living, or are the people contacting the cops justified? Also, do you believe the recent police shootings are lawful, or not? Let me know in the comments section!