The long-awaited journey through the offseason has finally reached its end. Many hours sifting through the draft, player holdouts at OTA’s, seeing who’s at Training Camp, and taking notice of any young player standouts during preseason are finally over. The NFL season is back upon us. It only took about 1 hour longer than anticipated but there’s only so much you can do when a storm comes to town. Sometimes you can play through a storm, see ND vs NC State in 2016, and sometimes you just have to wait for it to pass through and hope there’s not too much damage.
Thursday night started out with a bang, both from thunder and metaphorically. If you haven’t already seen the ad when it first launched, NIKE made sure the whole football world saw what they had to say.
Let’s just be clear, NIKE knows exactly what they are doing.
Call it whatever you’d like but the ad is beautiful. If you remove “the controversy” aspect of Colin Kaepernick, the message from the commercial is a triumphant proclamation for everyone to seek greatness, no matter the craziness of the dream or the sacrifice that must be made. It not only chronicles people who have had the world stacked against them but kids and adults achieving greatness against all odds.
If you hate hearing Kaepernick’s voice and seeing his face because of how it sounds and looks then that’s OK (He’s not the best narrator or visually appealing person). If you hate the commercial BECAUSE of Kaepernick being in it, maybe there’s other things at play here.
I, for one, have never been against kneeling during the national anthem. There are plenty of people who sit, don’t cover their hearts, keep their hats on, buy hot dogs and beer, walk to their seats, or use the bathroom during the playing of the national anthem. Just look around at the stadiums and you’ll see it.
“But, there are better ways to shine light on the issues”
Correct, there are plenty of ways to shed light on the issues, none of which has been more effective than NFL players kneeling during the national anthem (It even got the President to talk about it). Just like Donald Trump, Lavar Ball, and NIKE, saying and using controversial material to generate publicity is unfortunately the age we live in. The ironic part of all this exist within the people who protest because of the protest and use protesting as the cause for their protest.
Confused? I know I sure am but let’s get one thing clear, it IS an “anthem protest” now. When it first started off, the protest was for equal justice and to bring light upon the issues that affect the lives of people in this country. Some senators and congresspeople understand that sentiment and have made strides to improve the lives of the people the protest is about. However, if the only time you protest is during the National Anthem at football games, then over time it becomes something it is not.
This is where NIKE’s commercial gets everything back on track. During the commercial there is no talk of protesting or showing players protest, it’s about the people. People who won’t step back, who won’t give up, who won’t just go silently into the night when the deck is stacked against them. It’s about the people who inspire everyone that hope exist and that true greatness lies within the strength of the people.
Like him or hate him, Kaepernick has done positive things in this world. He lost an NFL career because he chose to make a stand (kneel) for people who aren’t like him. You don’t have to live in poverty and be mistreated by society to feel empathy for your fellow Americans, people, or individuals. He didn’t sacrifice his life like soldiers on the battlefield but he sacrificed in similar ways many other activists sacrifice.
NIKE’s commercial is calculated, inspiring, controversial, and beautiful. It’s why NIKE continues to lead the way in the sports apparel industry and everyone else wants to beat them. NIKE chose to be bold and take a risk. In many ways Kaepernick is the perfect surrogate for the message NIKE wants to promote. If you want to do something great, if you want to make a difference, if you want to make the world a better place, Just Do It.