Social justice warrior, Colin Kaepernick, is yet again back in the spotlight as the face for Nike’s #JustDoIt 30th Anniversary ad campaign: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick, one of the lowest-rated quarterbacks in the NFL, is known best for kneeling during the National Anthem to combat what he claims to be the massive police brutality and racism in this country. Kaepernick’s cultural hate war began in 2016, when he stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color… There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Although there are no statistics or facts to back up his claims, the left has made him into a so-called civil rights hero and “woke” thought leader. It was around the same time back in 2016, when I started writing for the Promethean. For my first article, I was assigned to write an opinion piece on Kaepernick not standing during the National Anthem. Unfortunately, this op-ed was never published in the school newspaper because my article was “very strongly worded” and “written in a style that could be construed as disrespectful.” This topic has come full circle with Nike’s “social justice” campaign and I intend to express my opinion as strongly worded as I please.
I believe that if Kaepernick, and those who have followed in his mighty footsteps, really wanted a change, they would stand up (literally and figuratively) and actually do something with a purpose and an agenda. All Kaepernick has done is blame the country and the American flag, a symbol which brings all Americans, no matter what race, ethnicity, sex, religion, etc., together, for these “problems” he insists need to change. It is despicable to compare this to Martin Luther King Jr.’s peaceful protests, such as sit-ins at places where blacks were not allowed, in order to prove that they were equal and deserve to sit wherever anyone else did regardless of skin color. These protesters, who would stay still, refusing to leave while getting beaten, thrown things at, shouted at, called horrific names, and had their lives threatened are the ones who sacrificed everything. The police officers, who Kaepernick has worn socks with pigs to represent, sacrifice everything every time they step out of their house. Those in the military who risk their lives for our safety sacrifice everything. What has Colin Kaepernick sacrificed? Not a damn thing. Do I believe he has the right to do this? Of course. I have and will continue to defend his right to free speech and to “peacefully protest” as well as defend the NFL’s right as a private company to require their players to stand during the National Anthem and most importantly use my free speech to say how wrong I think his actions are.
I personally do not agree with what Kaepernick has done and I am grossed out that Nike has made him the face of their brand. As a consumer who strongly dislikes Nike’s political, divisive marketing stunt, I will probably not buy Nike products again. In the end, capitalism wins whether that be in Nike’s favor or not; which is ironic for those on the left who are praising Kaepernick and Nike but hate capitalism and big corporations… like Nike. Maybe Kaepernick thinks that a Nike swoosh will magically fix these issues which he “sacrificed everything” to stand up for. However, he did not actually stand up for anything. Ultimately, if “sacrificing everything” means signing contracts for million-dollar deals and being a bench warmer on the NFL, we really need to set our priorities straight as a society and carefully consider whom we chose to label a “hero”.