The rise of Nike


Ruth Mesfin, Review Staff

Feature Photo By: Ruth Mesfin – An NFL football lays in the grass. Kaepernick played as quarterback in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers. This year, Kaepernick finds himself no longer employed by the NFL.

Recently, there has been controversy about the new Nike commercial celebrating Nike’s 30th anniversary, featuring former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

This has lead many people to burn their Nike apparel against the movement. Protesting the idea of standing during the national anthem is a sign of respect that people should acknowledge, stating “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”.

On the other hand, there has been much support from celebrities like former president Barack Obama, tennis player Serena Williams, basketball player Lebron James, etc., for the movement Kaepernick is trying to establish.

Kaepernick lost his football career because he was kneeling during the national anthem for racial justice and police brutality.

The Nike Revolution 4’s running shoes are pictured above. In 2017, Nike’s sales only increased by $1,974 million from 2016. According to CNBC, in 2018 Nike sales, “largest jumps occurred in Maryland, New Jersey, Alaska, Delaware, and Massachusetts. With the exception of Alaska, those states tend to be more liberal”. (Ruth Mesfin)

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick expressed. “To me, 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.”

Isn’t Kaepernick protected by the First Amendment which expresses that every citizen has a right to freedom of speech?

“I feel like he should be protected under the First Amendment, it’s not wrong that he kneels for the national anthem because he’s standing up for what he believes in,” says sophomore Brianna Cervantes. “I think it’s the right thing to do because there’s a reason why he does it”.

So why did the NFL end Kaepernick’s career?

The NFL says, “that teams would be fined if their men continued to do so.”

According to Variety, teams will have to pay fines if they don’t, “show respect for the flag and the Anthem”.

However, teams are allowed to stay in the locker rooms during the Star-Spangled Banner.

Trump took to Twitter saying, “If players want the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect…” adding, “…our Great American Flag (or country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do !”

On February 8, 2015, Adidas and Kanye West collaborated on the Yeezy Boost 750. This influenced Kanye to voice his opinion about Kaepernick’s current situation.

Kanye West took to Twitter saying, “I stand for giving everyone a voice. Adidas giving me a voice and Nike giving Colin a voice on a big business level make the world a move advanced place.”

According to Times, the new Nike’s ad has increased Nike sales by 31%. However, there are many people who don’t agree with Kaepernick’s ideas and choose to not support Nike as a company.

Tsion Gebretsadik, a freshman at Littleton High School says, “I understand where people are coming from when they talk about how it’s disrespectful, there are people who risk their lives for this country, and the least we can do is stand.”

But how does this movement affect student-athletes?

De’Maya High, a sophomore at Rangeview says, “As a student-athlete, I do feel like what he did was right. It shows football is not the only thing that matters to him. Him doing that made me feel inspired to do what is right, even if that means losing something.”

So are the beliefs of professional and student-athletes valved enough? Or is it not the right place or time?

Learn why more and more football players are protesting by reading Taking a Knee.