(RNN) – On Monday, Colin Kaepernick announced he has joined Nike as the face of the brand’s 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.
Kaepernick Tweeted a photo from the ad with the caption “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” and it has since sparked outrage stemming from Kaepernick’s controversial role in ongoing NFL player protests during the National Anthem.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
People responded to the new ad by posting photos and videos showing them burning their personal Nike paraphernalia. Others have expressed that they simply will no longer support the brand.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick’s deal with Nike is being described as a multiyear deal that extended his current deal with Nike that was set to expire.
According to the New York Times, Nike will produce new Kaepernick apparel, which includes a shoe and clothing items. Kaepernick’s deal could top Nike endorsements already in place with active NFL players, according to reports.
Nike will also donate money to Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” campaign.
The campaign announcement came just days before the start of the NFL season, as the league continues its attempt to eliminate continuing protests.
Nike has been here before
This isn’t the first time Nike has made a controversial stance in sports.
In 1984, the brand used the NBA’s own parameters as a stepping stone for marketing success, when they endorsed a then 23-year-old Michael Jordan out of North Carolina and provided him with his own shoe.
Nike became Nike because it was built on the idea of rebellion. This is the same company that dealt w/ the NBA banning Air Jordans. They made Jordan the face of the company at a time when black men were considered to be a huge risk as pitch men. They aren’t new to this.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 4, 2018
After Jordan wore them, the NBA said they were illegal and fined Jordan $5,000 for each game he wore them. Nike footed the bill for Jordan and later named the shoe the “Banned” Jordan 1.
The ban eventually helped Jordan and Nike resulting in a billion-dollar partnership as the Air Jordan shoe became one of Nike’s most successful items and Jordan became one of the most successful endorsement and promotion properties ever.
Nike, which represents some of the world’s biggest and influential athletes, tweeted it’s support for tennis icon Serena Williams.
This was after the French Open president banned Williams from wearing a one-piece compression suit, which she used for medical reasons.
— Nike (@Nike) August 25, 2018
How did we get here?
It’s been two years since Colin Kaepernick chose to bring attention to police brutality and the prevalence of racial discrimination by kneeling during the National Anthem before NFL games.
Kaepernick’s stance catapulted him as the face of the player protest movement in the National Football League.
The move garnered attention worldwide and ultimately caused the world of sports and politics to collide.
Politics and the NFL
President Trump has condemned the protests, calling NFL players who protested by failing to stand during the National Anthem “Sons of (Expletive) during a speech in Alabama.
The tweet inspired more players to kneel, which revived the issue between the players and their rights within the NFL.
Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Kaepernick later filed a lawsuit accusing the league and its coaches of colluding to keep him off the field because of his activism.
In August, a judge rejected the league’s attempt to have Kaepernick’s lawsuit dismissed and ruled that Kaepernick provided enough evidence for the case to move forward.
Kaepernick has received team invitations to work out for a potential spot on an NFL roster.
But, teams have stopped short of signing him noting his place on the roster as a possible distraction.
Some teams have reportedly asked Kaepernick if he would stop protests, but he was “unwilling to give that assurance to them.”
Kaepernick remains an NFL free agent.
Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.