Kaepernick Face of Nike's 30th Anniversary 'Just Do It'

Tuesday, 04 Sep, 2018

While Kaepernick doesn't have many supporters in National Football League front offices, he does still have one major backer in the sports world: Nike.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, the ad is part of a campaign that will make Kaepernick one of the faces of the company's legendary "Just Do It" campaign, which turns 30 this year.

Nike Inc chose Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem as a protest against racism, as a face of advertisements commemorating its "Just Do It" slogan's 30th anniversary, a move that could draw U.S. President Donald Trump's ire.

Other athletes featured in the campaign include New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and multiple Grand Slam champion Serena Williams. Nike is the official provider of the NFL's jerseys.

In 2016 Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem in protest at police violence against African-Americans. The former quarterback began opting out of standing during "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the 2016 pre-season, and continued kneeling throughout the season, with other players from numerous teams doing the same.

The New York Times reported on August 30 that an arbitrator appointed by the NFL Players Association ruled Kaepernick and his legal team had unearthed enough evidence for the case to proceed to a full court hearing. No team signed him as a free agent in 2017. The protests grew during the 2017 season after President Donald Trump criticized National Football League players who chose to follow suit. An NFL request to dismiss the case was denied last month, meaning there is sufficient evidence for it to go to trial.

But the new ad honoring Kaepernick is the first Nike has rolled out of the player since 2016, which is the a year ago the former quarterback played in the league.

The timing of the campaign appears significant given its unveiling comes three days before the start of the NFL's 2018 season. "Even though he is one of the best Quarterbacks in the league", wrote Ahmadinejad on Twitter on Monday.