Nike came out with a strong political statement by naming former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the new face of their #JustDoIt campagin on Labor Day, and Hollywood is here for it.
The Twittersphere lit up all day throughout the holiday, pushing Colin Kaepernick, Nike and #JustDoIt -- all three -- into the Top 10 trending topics in the United States deep into the night. Kaepernick tweeted out an image from the campaign, with a divisive tagline emblazoned across his stoic black-and-white face: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
With just days to go before the 2018 NFL season, Kaepernick will again sit out the season unsigned, despite statistically being one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He also became one of the most controversial when he began kneeling during the national anthem as a form of protest against the unequal treatment of minorities by police officers in the United States.
This has been misconstrued into a protest against America and the military, specifically, by many conservatives and Republicans, as seen by their vitriolic Twitter outrage over Kaepernick's inclusion in Nike's campaign. He joins Serena Williams, Odell Beckam Jr. and Shaquem Griffin, but is the only inactive athlete in the campaign.
It's a bold move by a mega-corporation, especially as it comes just as the NFL season is about to commence, and while Nike is the offical uniform sponsor of the NFL. That in-your-face stance -- which Nike has not commented on other than by releasing the images -- sees many in Hollywood and beyond applauding the company, even as they are laughing at how bent out of shape many on the right seem to be getting about it.
Here's an example of some of the negative reaction to this campaign, with many Trump supporters and self-proclaimed #MAGA enthusiasts railing against Nike and burning their Nike shoes and apparel.
Dear @Nike, I am burning all Nike stuff that I own. The man you decided to make the face of your #JustDoIt campaign wore socks depicting police as pigs.Yet, you celebrate him. It is the police who #justdoit 24 hours/day-7 days/week protecting lives while risking their own lives.
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
The irony of the MAGA crowd using their First Amendment right to protest Nike over their support of an athlete who utilized his first amendment right to protest racial injustice in the United States by kneeling during the national anthem was not lost on many of those in Hollywood and beyond.
They did not hesitate to viciously troll the right for what they saw as a clear "missing the point" moment, as well as throwing their support behind both Kaepernick and Nike for taking such a bold political stance.
Facing outrage for featuring Steve Bannon at its Festival, The New Yorker scrapped its plans, not wanting to be seen as giving voice to a white nationalist. Also facing outrage for naming Colin Kaepernick to its "Just Do It" campaign, Nike said, "Go F yourselves, he's awesome."
Racists are burning their Nike apparel. I wonder if they know Nike is the official outfitter of the NFL? The poetic justice in the new #JustDoIt campaign with Kaepernick is pure brilliance on Nike's part.
Colin Kaepernick drew our collective attention to the problem of continued racial injustice in America. He did so not to disrespect our flag but to give meaning to the words of the preamble of our Constitution—“in order to form a more perfect union.” Well done, Colin, well done. https://t.co/4ALyUxLjM5
Nike is a huge business. They've calculated risk. They may even have reason to believe this will make the brand more popular which means the guy burning his white air monarchs is in the minority. Bitter pill to swallow, I'm sure. Good luck w the protest. Bet they anticipated it.
My Oath was to defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foriegn and domestic. The 1st Amendment of the Constitution grants Kap the freedom to express himself, whether I like it or not. I will keep true to my Oath. Any questions, @johnrich ?
Dear every upset person who's burning their Nike gear because of Kaepernick please donate it to your local Salvation Army,homeless shelter,goodwill or go personally hand it to someone in need. #LoveConquersAll
That Colin Kaepernick is still not on an NFL roster is reprehensible... But for Nike to actually acknowledge an athlete who cares about social justice instead of just sneakers is commendable... #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/VGb8iwC5wh
Nike making Colin Kaepernick the face of their #JustDoIt campaign is EXACTLY what we as veterans serve for. We support FREE SPEECH. Period. Fox News, Donald Trump and their supporters...you are irrelevant here. End of story.