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Kneeling in flames

Colin Kaepernick, Nike receive backlash from 'Just Do It' campaign

Photo by Noah Nielson

Photo by Noah Nielson

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While on the sideline preparing for the first 2016 preseason game, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sits during the National Anthem and it goes unnoticed.

It wasn’t until the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, that he received national attention, praise and backlash for kneeling during the anthem. He stated he won’t stand until people of color stop getting discriminated against and treated unfairly.

“I feel like any American citizen should be allowed to do what they feel is right,” Sgt. Marine veteran Robert Brown said. “Even if I don’t personally like it.”

Fast forward to 2018, Kaepernick is out of the league and becomes the face of the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign by Nike. Both Nike and Kaepernick receive heavy backlash from the community. Despite the backlash against the campaign, Nike’s stock has increased as high as 31 percent.

“I really don’t understand why Nike thinks it was a good choice to include Kaepernick in their campaign ad considering his choice to kneel during the National Anthem has been so unpopular,” junior Matthew Black said. “It has also angered both black and white people and has divided our country.”

Recently, former NFL player and veteran Nate Boyer sat down with Kaepernick and had a one-on-one talk to find a middle ground. They both agreed kneeling is more respectful than sitting.  

“I don’t despise him, and I don’t despise Nike,” Black said. “What makes our country great is that people have the right to express their own opinions. People seem to want to squash people’s free speech in our country just because they don’t agree with these people’s opinions.”

Kaepernick has also decided to sue the NFL for grievance or plotting to keep him out of the league for kneeling, but many believe he got out of the league for simply underperforming; either way, this lawsuit can hurt the league in a variety of ways.

“I feel as though he was performing hit-or-miss game to game…not really consistent,” Cpl. Army veteran John Smith said. “To cause that uproar and then not perform well wasn’t a good mix.”

While Kaepernick sends a message as a key component in the Black Lives Matter campaign, some believe there are alternatives to spread awareness.

“I support the movement,” Spc. Army veteran Nicholas Potter said. “I do not support how Kaepernick went about it. I appreciate his willingness to try and bring an issue to light, but his act deafened peoples ears to his intentions.”

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