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Why Nike sees its Colin Kaepernick ad as a win

Posted at 7:28 AM, Sep 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-05 09:54:26-04
Colin Kaepernick ad
Nike said Kaepernick will be one of many athletes in the “Just Do It” campaign, which is “a compilation of the most inspirational athletes around sport — athletes who have chased crazy dreams, no matter the obstacle or outcome.”

Most advertisers try to avoid controversy, but Nike welcomes it.

Look no further than the sporting goods giant’s decision to feature former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 30th anniversary version of its “Just Do It” ad campaign.

The company seems unconcerned that the move is angering some consumers so much that they’re posting videos of themselves on social media torching Nike merchandise and caused its stock price to fall on Tuesday.

No matter. The largest maker of athletic apparel will feature the now-teamless football player in both TV and online ads — whose tagline is “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” — and will create an apparel line for him. It will also contribute to Kaepernick’s charity, Know Your Rights.

Nike first partnered with the 30-year-old Kaepernick in 2011 and stood by him when he attracted heated criticism for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed African Americans. Many other players followed Kaepernick’s lead. But President Donald Trump and his allies denounced the player protests as un-American and called for teams to fire any participants. 

Kaepernick opted out of his contract in 2017 when it appeared the San Francisco 49ers would cut him during the off-season. He subsequently sued the National Football League, alleging that team owners are colluding to prevent him from signing with another organization. An arbitrator ruled last week that Kaepernick’s case can proceed to trial.