Nike’s anniversary ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign featuring Kaepernick’s face along with the text: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” has drawn controversy ever since it was launched in the beginning of this week.
Angry Nike customers have set their Nike gear and shoes on fire and posted videos and photos on social media, with the hashtag #BoycottNike – all due to the reputation of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Kaepernick effectively launched the ‘take a knee’ wave of protests, which have swept the NFL, against perceived social injustice in the US in 2016.
The movement is seen by many as disrespectful to the US military and police.
“The Fraternal Order of Police has been called upon to boycott Nike for capitalizing on this former professional football player because he attracts controversy,” the organization said in their statement.
“In our experience, boycotts and similar exercises do not succeed and often serve only to enrich the company – which is not what we want to do. Our members and, for that matter, any American citizen, understands when the law enforcement profession is being insulted – we have no doubt they will make their purchases with that insult in mind.
“If Nike chooses to create an ad campaign featuring a former quarterback who describes cops as ‘pigs’ and makes large donations to the family of a convicted cop killer and wanted fugitive, Joanne Chesimard, who murdered New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster in cold blood in 1973, they are free to do so.”
The “pigs” remark refers to another situation involving Kaepernick, which happened in 2016, when he appeared on the field in socks with images of pig faces in police hats.
“Since 2016, 381 officers have been killed in the line of duty. They believed in something and sacrificed everything, as did the families they left behind. All of the men and women in law enforcement believe in something and are prepared to sacrifice everything.”
Kaepernick’s sacrifice line in the Nike ad is an apparent reference to the fact that he has remained unemployed since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017.
“Ultimately, this ad campaign will end and our nation will no longer associate ‘sacrifice’ and ‘sneakers.’ Instead we will once again associate sacrifice with our fellow Americans in our military and police departments who stand in harm’s way to protect the rest of us and our right to express ourselves,” the FOP concluded.