Culture

Celebrities Who Support Colin Kaepernick's Nike Ad

For the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” advertising campaign, the company chose a new face to promote their brand: Colin Kaepernick.  

The advertisement is a close-up black and white photo of Kaepernick with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” emblazoned across his face. Kaepernick tweeted the image on Monday, when the campaign launched.

The campaign also includes LeBron James, Serena Williams, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham Jr. After Kaepernick’s ad ran on Monday and many people began burning their Nike gear in response to the ad and posting the videos on social media.

“Our soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine,” tweeted John Rich of the country music act, Big & Rich. “Get ready [Nike] multiply that by the millions.”

“This is the greatest, stupidest thing,” comedian Paul F. Tompkins wrote in response to Rich. If there is any upside to the ugliness of the wave of white supremacy we are experiencing right now it is the hilarious comedy of sheer dumbitude.”

Amid the backlash, other celebrities have expressed their support in Kaepernick, either by retweeting the ad or posting in the #ImWithKap, #JustDoIt, and #TeamNike hashtags. Those who have shown their support by sharing Kaepernick’s ad on their social media pages include Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Peretti, Roxane Gay and Zendaya.

Other supporters include director and screenwriter Ava DuVernay. “Would you sacrifice comfort, money and security for what you believe in?” she tweeted on Monday under the #ImWithKap hashtag. Matthew A. Cherry, a filmmaker under Jordan Peele’s production company Monkeypaw and a former NFL wide receiver also joined in the discussion and approached the situation with humor.

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49er has not played in the NFL since 2016, the year he began to take a knee during the National Anthem as a silent protest against police brutality. Dozens of other players followed his lead, which led to heavy criticism of the NFL and many angry fans boycotting the sport entirely. Due to this controversy, Nike, which signed Kaepernick in 2011, held off in using him for ad campaigns. However, Nike kept him on their roster even after Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017.

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