Kaepernick, an outspoken advocate for America's black community and, in particular, the systemic economic hardships, disproportionate imprisonment, and police brutality inflicted upon its people, began kneeling during the pre-game National Anthem in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, the new policy was shelved in July as the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to reopen dialogue to reach agreement on a new approach.
If Nike's move pays off or not, Kaepernick will be bringing in a good amount of dough without strapping those pads on. He also ranted about the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback's "pig socks", which Kaepernick wore while taking a knee on the field during the national anthem, and took jabs at people who criticized his point of view - of which there were many.
To coincide with the 30th anniversary of its first Just Do It campaign, Nike has released a new series that celebrates the greats of the sporting world. An independent arbitrator ruled last month that his collusion grievance could proceed to trial.
Nike's decision to feature Kaepernick in its campaign drew a mixed reaction on social media, with some commentators lauding the apparel brand's decision and others calling for a boycott.
It's a "fine line" for Nike to walk with this campaign, said Susan Anderson, senior retail analyst at investment bank B. Riley FBR.
ESPN has reported that Nike kept Kaepernick, who signed a sponsorship deal with the company in 2011, was on its payroll throughout the controversy of the past two years. The protest was meant to draw attention, he said, to police killings of African Americans and other injustices.
But selecting Colin Kaepernick, an outcast American football player and civil rights activist, as the face of its new global advertising campaign is its most divisive move.
Nike has shown a willingness to use its athletes, albeit it in a time before social media and for a different reason.
In addition, the sound technician for country music duo Big and Rich, cut the iconic Nike swoosh off of his socks in protest.
"What Nike did is a game changer", said Mark Williams, a sports marketer.
In fact, the slogan in the ad could well have been referring to Nike's decision to believe in something-and sacrifice customers and revenue as a result. "Bad choice your company made!"
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