So Nike thought it was a good idea to make former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick the face of their company. The slogan associated with the campaign is: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick is the one who started kneeling during the national anthem at pro football games two seasons ago. At the time, he was a back-up quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick and those (now very few) kneeling players were protesting a lot of things they say are wrong with America. Racial inequality, discrimination, police brutality, and social injustice to name a few. Last week, he said he was also “fighting for the oppressed.”
He also wears socks depicting police officers as pigs and T-shirts with pictures of Malcolm X and Fidel Castro. Kaepernick is a left-wing, social justice “warrior.” Apparently, Nike admires his left-wing, anti-American social justice advocacy.
Agree or disagree with Kaepernick’s assessment of America, he has every right to speak out and address societal problems as he sees them. But when he was a player, he should have done so on his own time and with his own dime. I can’t think of another profession in which an employee claims a right to “take a knee” when they’re on the job.
The NFL made a monumental mistake when it first allowed these players to kneel or sit on the bench during our national anthem while in an NFL uniform. This act is seen by millions of Americans as a slap in the face, especially to those who have served in our military and fought for our freedoms.
America, as a whole, is a great country. People all over the world want to come to live in the USA. It’s a country where, if you can throw a ball around well enough, you can make millions. Ironically, the NFL allowed these players to disrespect our flag, our military, and our nation while at the same time denying the Dallas Cowboys’ request to put a simple decal on their helmets to honor the four fallen policemen who were slain on the streets of Dallas a couple of years ago.
One of the problems I have with Kaepernick is that his list of issues is so broad and undefined. A problem that cannot be precisely identified cannot ever be solved. The ambiguity of a cause also prevents any reasoned debate on the merits of any particular grievance.
And guess what? In a country of 325 million people, you’re always going to have stories in the news that you can cite as “injustice.” You might as well plan on kneeling from now until kingdom come because these issues are always going to be with us.
Kaepernick did not sacrifice “everything” by taking a knee during his playing days. He made $43 million playing a game. If he has any discipline, he can live the good life for the rest of his days.
People who “gave up everything” would include individuals like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or former NFL player-turned-soldier Pat Tillman who lost his life in Afghanistan. Tillman quit the NFL to join the military.
I know of a law enforcement official who threw all his Nike gear away upon learning that Kaepernick was now the face of the company. I don’t blame him. Nike wants to hire a man who wears socks depicting police officers as pigs? It’s the company’s choice. If I got up every day, willing to put my life on the line to protect people, I don’t think I’d keep the products of those who insult me in my house either.
I don’t know how much Nike will lose, but there are now millions of people who will not even consider buying “the swoosh” anymore. I have been a loyal Nike customer for many years. But no more.
Quarterback Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys said he would not kneel during the national anthem at an NFL game because it’s an event with fans of all political persuasions wanting to simply enjoy a football game, and it was “not the place” to protest. What a refreshing contrast to Kaepernick’s self-centered capers.
If Kaepernick and other NFL players really wanted to make a bold statement, they could protest by kneeling during the actual game just before going into the end zone for a TD. That would be the best way to really bring attention to your cause. Of course, that would cost them money and perhaps earn them a place on the bench or worse. That would certainly be closer to giving up “everything.”