The North Star

Column: Nike is back in the middle of controversy

One photo and nine words shifted the public perception of one of the most global brands in the world.

Kirubel Mesfin, Sports Editor

Even if you aren’t an avid sports fan, you’ve likely run into Nike’s new advertisement centered around arguably the most controversial athlete in sports right now.

Colin Kaepernick.

The resultant ad generated immediate backlash, with some consumers choosing to cut Nike’s logo off of their clothing and some choosing, in a twist of irony on the famed Nike slogan, to just burn it.

Nike is no stranger to this type of controversy, particularly when it comes to its sponsored athletes.

Whether you agree with Kaepernick’s protest or not, it’s crucial to understand that it’s paying off big time, both for him and for Nike.

Just read the ad: Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Isn’t that what Nike stands for? “Just Do It,” right?

Isn’t that what Kaepernick did?

You can argue all you want about the protest’s meaning or execution, about whether kneeling was the most impactful or most respectful way to handle the situation.

But you can’t argue that he hasn’t made a sacrifice.

Colin Kaepernick is seen here kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem before a game. Why? In his own words, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people…this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Kaepernick said.

And Kaepernick isn’t the first time Nike has stood behind a controversial athlete.

Exhibit A: Nike stood behind the likes of Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Laker legend who was caught up in sports drama on the basketball court and a sexual assault case off of it.

Nike also stood behind Tiger Woods, the disgraced golfer who had multiple affairs, DUI charges, and was dropped by almost every single sponsorship he had. Except Nike.

 

And now Nike is standing behind Colin Kaepernick.

And why shouldn’t they? Nike reportedly made 43 MILLION dollars off of this advertisement in the first 19 hours of it being public.

 

43. Million. In 19 hours. That’s a lot of money.

 

And for every person boycotting Nike, there’s a person heading to a Nike store, a person retweeting this Nike campaign, and a person logging onto nike.com.

Maybe Nike knows what they’re doing after all…

 

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About the Writer
Kirubel Mesfin, Sports Editor

Kirubel Mesfin is a senior at Naperville North High School and serves as the Sports Editor and Multimedia Director for The North Star. He is looking forward to late-night writing sessions with the sports team and in-depth video making. In his free time, he’s either at a school sporting event…or editing media from a school sporting event.

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Column: Nike is back in the middle of controversy