The Kaepernick controversy


Mike Morbeck

Kaepernick’s recent Nike ad has caused a nationwide debate because of his controversial past.

Landon DeBoer, Sports Editor

Looking back to late August into early September 2016, no one believed that a simple, peaceful protest by now former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback, Colin Kaepernick would cause such an uproar and escalate into what it is now. Kaepernick made a household name of himself, not just because of his play on the field but because, on numerous occasions, he knelt during the national anthem before football games to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

Kaepernick started to gain recognition and media coverage for his protests on Aug. 26, 2016 according to SB Nation. With many athletes from the NFL, the WNBA and other professional sports kneeling, linking arms or raising fists in support of Kaepernick’s message on police brutality, people across the nation began to take a stance on whether or not these acts should be allowed to continue during the anthem. Those in opposition of Kaepernick believe that he is disrespecting the flag and America, while those in favor of his actions believe that his actions are justifiable. Even President Trump has taken his side on the standing or kneeling issue brought forth by Kaepernick.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” said President Trump on Twitter on Sept. 23, 2017. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something new to do!”

Because of Kaepernick’s protests, many believe that he lost his job in the NFL because of the controversy that he brings wherever he goes. This raises questions to Kaepernick’s supporters as to why a quarterback that led his team through the playoffs and lost the Super Bowl on a highly controversial no-pass interference call just a few seasons prior to these peaceful protests should lose his job because he is trying to bring awareness to a prominent issue in today’s world.

Kaepernick’s actions even made the NFL consider adding a rule this season where players would be fined or suspended if they sat or knelt during the national anthem before a game. According to ESPN, the NFL owners did vote to put a rule like this in effect but because of overly strict punishments put into action by the Miami Dolphins, where players could be given up to a four game suspension(more than some domestic violence suspensions), the rule change was put on hold.

The former 49ers’ quarterback may have lost everything fighting for what he believed in. Because of this, Nike has launched a new advertisement this week with the former NFL quarterback as the narrator. This has caused even more uproar than when Kaepernick was kneeling during the national anthem. The Nike ad features popular athletes like LeBron James and Serena Williams, and less-known athletes with interesting stories like a homecoming queen who plays linebacker on her high school football team and an iron man who lost 120 pounds after beating a brain tumor.  The message on this advertisement is, “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough.” Kaepernick’s main message in the ad is, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Opposers of Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem have turned to Twitter to voice displeasure over Nike’s new ad campaign. Kaepernick’s opponents have even gone as far as to burn Nike clothing or cut out the Nike “swoosh” off of shirts, shorts or even shoes.

Because of Nike’s ad campaign, many people have predicted Nike sales to decrease dramatically because of the negativity swirling around the company’s namesake. But, according to reports from NBC News, Nike sales are actually up by 31 percent since the Kaepernick ad has been released. The long term effects of this ad are unknown as many opposers of Kaepernick have decided to boycott Nike products.

Whether or not one stands in opposition to Kaepernick or one kneels in support of him, the important fact to remember is that the messages Kaepernick and Nike are trying to convey is more important than whether or not one agrees with the way Kaepernick has protested police brutality and racial inequality.


Here is the controversial Nike ad entitled “Dream crazy”