Nike + Kaepernick

Opinion Sports

You may have heard, but this last week Nike released an ad for their new #JustDoIt campaign with former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, as the face of the campaign. That’s right. Kaepernick is back in the limelight, and people are just as upset now as they were two years ago when he first kneeled during the national anthem. Fans are so upset, in fact, that some are burning their already paid for Nike apparel. This man has been out of the NFL for over a year, and his face and his movement still cause people to act out irrationally. All I wonder is, why?

Let me preface this by saying I have an incredible amount of respect for our military and the American Flag. Both of my grandpas are veterans, my mother served for several years, and my father has been active duty army for the last 30 years. Everything I am, everything I believe in is because of the flag. I believe everyone should stand and respect the flag. It is the least we can do. That being said, I think it is ridiculous how outraged we get over athletes kneeling during the anthem. These men have every right to protest. That’s the beauty of being American. Colin Kaepernick felt that he needed to protest the wrong doings that have occurred against African-Americas and other minorities. He chose to kneel. Now, all you ever hear about it is negativity.

Fans are boycotting the NFL and now Nike. People feel that if they protest back, it will make the whole kneeling thing go away. They could not be further away from the truth. If anything, it will make the movement stronger. Nike is a multibillion dollar company backing Kaepernick two years after he first took a knee. Does that really look like something that is going away? Sure, the NFL is trying to implant a new rule requiring all players to stand and Nike might have to find a new face for their next campaign, but I am sure the protests will remain in some way. Police brutality and minority wrong doings are a real issue, and as long as it remains an issue these protests continue.

But, maybe there is a better solution. Instead of yelling back and forth at each other, we should try to find a middle ground that better suits both parties. Clearly, what is currently going on is not working. Detroit Lions owner, Martha Ford, found a better way. Ford does not want her players kneeling for the anthem. She wants her players to stand and respect the flag. In return, she will financially back her players and their cause in the community. This is a much better solution than changing a rule. Ford recognizes there is an issue and her financial standing can go a long way in helping her players spread awareness in a way that doesn’t piss off half of the country.

f more owners tried this approach, maybe there wouldn’t be such an uproar in the NFL. Maybe the Chiefs wouldn’t have the worst secondary in football because they wouldn’t have traded away a player who protested and upset a lot of the fanbase in Marcus Peters. Maybe, if we all took a second and tried to find a better way to raise awareness that wasn’t disrespectful to the men and women who gave their lives for this country, we would be further along in finding the solution. I don’t know the solution, but there are people much smarter than me not trying to find it. All I know is the yelling, the boycotting and the burning seems to be doing more harm than good. I do not want players to kneel, but I want them to be able to express themselves in a way that is beneficial to their cause. If we just found a better way to do it, then maybe we could make some real progress in this country.