Kaepernick’s protest inspires and incites

Nike encourages consumers to stand for something

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Football quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the Nike Ad will be remembered as this generation’s Tommie Smith and John Carlos moment in the 1968 Olympics, protesting discrimination and racism toward blacks.
Once again, Kaepernick has facilitated the need to converse and reflect on many levels in lieu of the Nike Ad and the narrative it attempts to represent. Nike’s full weight behind Kaepernick and his life’s trials is globally significant.
Our shoes go wherever we go and from that perspective Nike’s support of Kaepernick was an easy calculus. Simply put: shoes determine how we get there, not where we are going, both in reality and metaphorically.
Nike celebrates the commitment Kaepernick has made toward what he believes in. “risking everything,” as the ad states. In Kaepernick’s case, Nike has made a bold statement regarding its corporate responsibility, increasingly seen as important in the overall success and sustainability of a company. Consumer brands want to be more and more associated with positive widely held ethics and values. Likewise, companies are concerned with their practices reflection on company governance, culture, public profile and community outreach.
Recent examples such as the cancellation of the Roseanne show or the boycott FOX experienced from advertisers both in the Bill O’Reilly harassment scandal and more recent Laura Ingraham’s and Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg’s social media feud, show that these corporations are serious about their public perception.
The ad clearly wants it to be known the days of isolation and shame for whistle blowing are ending and standing up for what is right will be celebrated instead of maligned.
Meanwhile, the issue of police brutality remains difficult and a national conversation illusive. President Trump and others will not allow it. Trump wants to chastise players and promote the narrative that players are interested in discord and defiance; he has used it as a tool to divide and motivate his base.
Discrediting players and promoting a perception of black athletes lacking patriotism serves his purpose a lot more than mediating an effort to foster better relations with police and communities of color.
The repeated hostility and outrage of those offended by the anthem protest remains misguided. The motivation and police brutality behind the protest has been ignored and the issue has not garnered the type of national conversation necessary to improve relations between police and affected communities.
Many cannot seem to understand it, instead it is regarded as a disrespect towards the military and a lack of patriotism. President Trump has chosen to reinforce this narrative.
Kaepernick has been clear about what his intent was, yet the issue remains muddled by the insistence of those wishing to interpret his protest how they want to.
It reveals clearly that there is a credibility gap based on race. NFL players and people of color, in general, have a lesser claim to citizenship in America; criticism is seen as disloyal and a lack of appreciation for America.