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NPO CALLS FOR NIKE #JUSTDOIT COLIN KAEPERNICK BOYCOTT

September 5, 2018

Causing white folks to burn up their shorts and cut up their tennis whites, Nike, Inc. released its 30th-anniversary celebration campaign for their Just Do It slogan featuring activist-athlete Colin Kaepernick and his #takeaknee protest against police brutality.

Though it’s been two years since Kap’s protest effectively got him blacklisted from the NFL, companies and brands have been hesitant to vocalize support for either the quarterback or other players resisting police violence—let alone admit that such violence is disproportionately happening at all.

Nike’s arrival is better late than never. And, yes, it’s more than fair to point out that Nike isn’t exactly an advocate for the liberation of people of color all over this planet, that they exploit brown labor for profit just like the NFL. There’s still something to be said about Nike willingly putting itself in a position to face inevitable financial losses and social backlash for it.

One unhappy group includes the National Police Organization which sent a letter to Nike chairman and CEO Mark Parker announcing its call to boycott all Nike products for supporting Kaepernick. ‘Cause cops can’t get they socks somewhere else, but okay.

But what makes the new campaign so powerful is, of course, Kaepernick, his wide-open gaze, and the authenticity behind it and his story. Now, Nike’s various ‘Just Do It’ campaigns are inherently meant to inspire and challenge the masses. Yet unlike the majority of the fictional or purely sports narratives told through Nike’s advertising, when we—as a society—look into Kaepernick’s eyes and are told to “believe in something,” even if it means losing what we’ve worked hard to gain, we know there’s no bullshit. That’s not just a slogan to encourage athleticism and sneaker sales. It’s commentary on the discipline of a talented athlete who now channels that devotion for something greater than himself.

Taking a stand (or knee) in the face of what you know to be wrong is incomprehensibly more important to the evolution of a soul than accomplishments that can be quantified by rings, trophies, money, or status. Being the best for yourself, as Nike’s branding insinuates, is one thing. Resisting injustice and standing on the right side of history, when it’s most difficult to do, is GOAT-type shit.

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