Dinesh D'Souza Asks Nike If It Would Tell Hitler to 'Just Do It' Like Colin Kaepernick

Right-wing filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza raised the specter of Adolf Hitler in a bizarre criticism of sportswear company Nike over a new advert with NFL star Colin Kaepernick, who started the "taking a knee" protest during the national anthem at football games.

Now a free agent, Kaepernick, 30, was a San Francisco 49ers quarterback in 2016 when he first took a knee during the national anthem to protest police violence against black people, amid the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. His actions sparked a wave of copycat protests by football stars.

The national anthem protests sparked a substantial backlash against the NFL—including from President Donald Trump—which has struggled to contain the issue as conservative fans abandon the sport over what they see as privileged players disrespecting the country.

Kaepernick is one of the faces of a new Nike advert to mark the 30th anniversary of its "Just do it" campaign. The new advert is captioned: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just do it."

It is taken as a reference to the severe criticism Kaepernick has faced and his struggle to find a new team after leaving the 49ers. He brought a lawsuit against the 32 owners of NFL teams accusing them of colluding to prevent his playing for any of them, which will now go to trial.

D'Souza, who is currently promoting his new documentary Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time?, which seeks to equate liberalism with Nazism, weighed in on the controversy over Nike's advert with Kaepernick.

"No, believing in something is not enough. Would #Nike offer this #JustDoIt advice to Hitler?" D'Souza tweeted, drawing a parallel between the national anthem protests, which are protected by the first amendment, and the atrocities carried out by Nazis under Hitler's orders.

He later added: "What @Kaepernick7 represents is privilege combined with ingratitude. Is this what @Nike wants its brand to stand for?"

No, believing in something is not enough. Would #Nike offer this #JustDoIt advice to Hitler? pic.twitter.com/n7hlGPEpKn

— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) September 3, 2018

What @Kaepernick7 represents is privilege combined with ingratitude. Is this what @Nike wants its brand to stand for? pic.twitter.com/7i7A8PtSDJ

— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) September 4, 2018

While many Americans are voicing their support of Kaepernick and Nike on social media, some are pledging never to buy the company's products ever again, and posting images of the destruction of Nike clothing.

Kaepernick signed with Nike in 2011 but the company has not used him in the last two years as the row over taking a knee engulfed the NFL.

The anniversary campaign also includes adverts with LeBron James, Serena Williams, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham.

Nike did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

D'Souza was recently pardoned by President Trump after his conviction in 2014 for campaign finance offenses.

He was sentenced to five years probation, with eight months spent in a community confinement center, after funneling his money through other people to make Senate campaign contributions above the legal limit for individuals to any one candidate.

He pleaded guilty, but claims it was "a vindictive political hit" in response to his highly-critical 2012 film about President Obama, 2016: Obama's America, which, in turn, was derided by critics as character assassination.

Trump chose to pardon D'Souza, a vocal supporter of his, saying he had been treated "very unfairly by our government."