Colin Kaepernick is the Nevada alumnus that older generations forget about and younger generations love to claim.
Whether you remember him as the quarterback that led the Wolf Pack from 2007-2011 or his rise to the Superbowl with the San Francisco 49ers in lieu of Alex Smith’s season ending injury— Kap was one of those players you don’t forget about.
Until recently, there was even a shrine of Kap at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. That changed when Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against people of color.
Back in 2016, Kap’s protest began quietly. For the first few games of his protest, he sat during the anthem without people noticing. Then when someone paid attention, he was met with an army of people with hypothetical pitch forks. Kaepernick’s response was brief and to the point.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said, via NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
A veteran and former NFL long snapper, Nate Boyer, penned an open letter to Kaepernick online at ArmyTimes.com. In his letter, Boyer wrote how he felt Kap was disrespectful for sitting during the national anthem. After reading the letter, Kaepernick reached out to Boyer and they met for 90 minutes in San Diego. During this meeting Kaepernick described what he was protesting and asked what was the most respectful way to protest. Boyer directed him to take a knee during the anthem because it was the same way soldiers showed respect and what they do when they are mourning a fallen brother.
Since then, Kaepernick and his protest took a tumultuous journey that ultimately ended his career in the NFL.
Recently, Nike has launched a new campaign to commemorate the 30th anniversary of their signature “Just Do It” campaign. The company wanted to celebrate those fighting through adversity to get where they wanted to be. Nike then revealed that Colin Kaepernick had remained on their payroll for the past few years and that he was now the face of the campaign.
The first promotional photo featured a headshot of Kaepernick with the words “Stand for something, even if it means sacrificing everything” across his face.
The photo created instant controversy. There were people who supported Kaepernick wholeheartedly from the start, and there were people who resulted to destroying their Nike products in protest of the company’s support of Kaepernick.
During the opening Thursday Night Football game, the full Nike ad ran and featured a montage of people following their dreams while Kaepernick narrates. The video was well received, but there were still those who completely disagreed with Kaepernick.
The funny part of people disagreeing with Kaepernick’s kneel is that he hasn’t even had the opportunity to kneel in an NFL game in two years.
People are crazy. All people, I’m not discriminating here.
Everyone is too concerned with what everyone else is doing that they fail to sit and think about their own actions first.
I’m sure that you felt it was justified to burn your Nike shoes, but somewhere else a homeless person walks barefoot. The $40 dri-fit shirt you’re mutilating shows how money is disposable to Americans when 50 percent of the rest of the world is impoverished. Your 2,000 word Facebook post supporting Kap was *definitely* justified – as was arguing with every single commentator about what you believe our troops fight to support.
No matter which side of the argument you land on, stop yelling at people. Stop trying to force your opinion down people’s throat. Create an open dialogue where you can talk about these issues. Also, stop using Facebook as your sole method of communicating that you disagree with the ad.
Nike intended to cause controversy. They wanted to get people talking and having educated discussions about why it was important to stand (or kneel) for what you believe in. Their entire campaign is meant to be inspirational- the campaign shouldn’t be the reason why you block your conservative uncle on Facebook because you might’ve agreed with your liberal aunt.
Jacey Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.