Kaepernick creates controversy as campaign face of Nike

A+student+burns+her+Nike+shoes+in+protest+of+the+brand%27s+strong+association+with+Colin+Kaepernick.+Several+people+have+chosen+to+burn+their+Nike+apparel+to+disassociate+with+the+brand+and+Kaepernick.
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Kaepernick creates controversy as campaign face of Nike

A student burns her Nike shoes in protest of the brand's strong association with Colin Kaepernick. Several people have chosen to burn their Nike apparel to disassociate with the brand and Kaepernick.

A student burns her Nike shoes in protest of the brand's strong association with Colin Kaepernick. Several people have chosen to burn their Nike apparel to disassociate with the brand and Kaepernick.

A student burns her Nike shoes in protest of the brand's strong association with Colin Kaepernick. Several people have chosen to burn their Nike apparel to disassociate with the brand and Kaepernick.

A student burns her Nike shoes in protest of the brand's strong association with Colin Kaepernick. Several people have chosen to burn their Nike apparel to disassociate with the brand and Kaepernick.

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There’s a science to marketing. There are reasons for why a company chooses to sponsor an event or a person. Recently, Nike’s partnership with American football player Colin Kaepernick has sparked dialogue, but for some, not necessarily in a positive way.

On Sept. 3, Kaepernick tweeted an image of his face with the caption “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” in association with Nike, a company he has worked with previously. People began to object by burning shoes and cutting the trademark “Swooshes” off of their socks. This outrage begs the question; did Nike make the best choice?

“I think some people will probably quit buying [Nike’s] stuff, but I think other people just don’t really care,” senior Amber Harris said.

The history behind the ad dates only as far as 2016, when Kaepernick sparked controversy by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem before a game in order to draw attention to racism and police brutality. Since then, he has a become an household name in activism. Over time, his name in news was replaced by more recent events.

“For people that really like the brand, it just made them like it more, but people that just didn’t really believe in what [Kaepernick] was saying totally want to get away from [Nike] and what message it brings,” freshman Davidson Ungurait said.

While brand loyalty may have some effect in this debate, it is highly agreed upon that Nike’s campaign has at least some political implications.

“With [Nike using] hierarchical diffusion you’re going to have some people gravitate toward Nike because of the political statement that’s being made, and then you’re going to have another group that’s going away from Nike because of it,” social studies teacher Dana Hilliard said.

Because of the campaign’s political connotations, it is debated why Nike chose to release it when they did. It features other athletes like tennis player Serena Williams and basketball player LeBron James as well, but fans still tended to focus on Kaepernick, and the message he was sending in particular.

“I think Nike’s reasoning was to show that they stand behind their athletes, that they believe fully in what they want to do and that they’re not going to strand them on a metaphorical island,” Ungurait said.

It may be impossible to ever truly pinpoint the cause of this campaign. Some believe Nike intended to make this a political statement, and, in such a politically charged time, it’s difficult to stay out of conversations like these. However, some continue to think differently of the company’s motives.

“Honestly, I think [Nike] is just trying to boost their purchases in some way,” Harris said.

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