Nike Calls on NFL to #BringBackKap Ahead of 2020 Season Start

Nike has joined the growing chorus calling for the NFL to allow Colin Kaepernick back into the league just days before the start of the 2020 NFL season.

On Tuesday night, Nike Football's official Twitter account shared a black and white picture of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, captioning it with the hashtag #bringbackcap

It's not the first time the sports apparel giant has thrown its weight behind Kaepernick. In September 2018, Nike included the former Nevada alumnus as one of the main testimonials for the campaign meant to celebrate three decades of the company's "Just Do It" motto.

"Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything," the ad read.

The move comes just a day after EA Sports revealed Kaepernick featured in the latest instalment of the company's popular Madden NFL video game franchise. Kaepernick is listed as a free agent on Madden NFL 21, marking the first time he's been reinstated in the franchise since he became a free agent at the end of the 2016 season.

"Knowing that our EA Sports experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin's position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football," EA Sports said in a statement.

"We've worked with Colin to make this possible, and we're excited to bring it to all of you today."

Not only did EA Sports include Kaepernick in the game for the first time in four years, it went as far as increasing his overall rating from 74 in Madden 17 to 81 in the latest edition

It has also given the 32-year-old a signature touchdown celebration, which sees him hold up the Black Power fist.

When you score a touchdown with Colin Kaepernick in #Madden21 and choose "signature" celebration, Kap holds up the Black Power fist. pic.twitter.com/rclVIFjXze

— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 8, 2020

Kaepernick has been persona non grata in the NFL since he began a peaceful protest against police brutality and racial discrimination by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

His decision to kneel transformed him into a global icon, but split public opinion in the U.S. and contributed to him being ostracized by the league.

When he was not offered a tryout by any of the 32 franchises, he sued the owners for colluding to keep him out of the league, before reaching a settlement with the NFL in February 2019.

In December last year, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league had "moved on" from Kaepernick, after the former 49er moved a workout the NFL had organized a month earlier.

Calls for Kaepernick to be allowed back into the NFL again grew louder during the offseason in the wake of the nationwide protests demanding an end to racial discrimination sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25.

In June, Goodell adopted a far more conciliatory tone, encouraging teams to sign Kaepernick.

"If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's going to take a team to make that decision," the NFL commissioner told Mike Greenberg of ESPN.

"But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.

"If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities."

Even President Donald Trump, a vocal critic of Kaepernick's protests and of players kneeling during the anthem, suggested the former 49er should be allowed back into the league if he was deemed good enough to play professional football after four years.

"The answer is absolutely I would," Trump told Washington TV station WJLA this summer when asked whether he would give Kaepernick the chance to return to the NFL.

"As far as kneeling, I would love to see him get another shot. But obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can't play well, I think it would be very unfair."

Colin Kaepernick, Colin Kaepernick workout
Colin Kaepernick looks to make a pass during a private NFL workout held at Charles R. Drew high school on November 16 in Riverdale, Georgia. Due to disagreements between Kaepernick and the NFL the location of the workout was abruptly changed. Carmen Mandato/Getty