(RNN) - Nike has selected former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to be one of the faces of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It,” campaign, according to ESPN.
Kaepernick tweeted a black and white close-up photo of himself Monday afternoon. He included the caption, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick signed an endorsement deal with Nike back in 2011. But Nike had not used him on its endorsement roster since he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.
His knelt in protest of police brutality and oppression African Americans face in the United States. But it sparked criticism from fans and even President Donald Trump on several occasions.
Critics claimed Kaepernick was disrespecting the flag, the anthem and the military.
According to a poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, 54 percent of respondents deemed it inappropriate to kneel during the anthem. Just 43 percent of respondents called it appropriate.
ESPN reports that even though Nike hadn’t used Kaepernick in any promotions for two years, the company had been paying him all along and looking for the right opportunity to bring him back into the public eye.
"We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward," Gino Fisanotti, Nike's vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN.
LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr, Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker and Serena Williams are also part of the Just Do It campaign.
Kaepernick’s protest inspired others to take part. The NFL team owners passed a rule this offseason that gives players who would kneel the option of remaining in the locker room during the anthem.
The rule also dictates that players who choose to be on the field for the anthem must stand. Teams with players who do not stand will be subject to fines and teams could also discipline the offenders.
Kaepernick has not played an NFL game since the 2016 season. He filed a lawsuit against the NFL for colluding to keep him out of the league due to his protests.
He got a small victory last week when an independent arbitrator ruled there was enough evidence to require a full hearing.
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