Nike is the corporate example America needs right now.
Colin Kaepernick’s name has become larger than football since his controversial decision two years ago to kneel while the National Anthem played before NFL games. His stance has been used by some to gaslight racial tensions in this country – causing Kaepernick supporters to defend false accusations that he is disrespecting the flag and the armed forces. His goal has been clearly expressed: Kaepernick is using his platform to protest police shootings of African-American men and other social injustices faced by black people in the United States (btw, military veterans released an open letter in support of Kaepernick’s right to protest, and so did the NFL). In April, Kaepernick accepted Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience award, where he publicly discussed the protest and what it means to him.
“As police officers continue to terrorize black and brown communities, abusing their power, and then hiding behind their blue wall of silence, and laws that allow for them to kill us with virtual impunity, I have realized that our love, that sometimes manifests as black rage, is a beautiful form of defiance against a system that seeks to suppress our humanity. A system that wants us to hate ourselves.”
Yesterday, Nike launched its 30th Anniversary “Just Do It.” campaign and chose Colin Kaepernick as the face of its brand. Despite the public criticism and praise, the most important take home about this bold decision is that it was intentional – and this boldness is exactly the type of corporate activism America needs right now.