Nike unveils the much debated ad featuring Colin Kaepernick
New York, Sep 6: Nike has unveiled its first "Just Do It" ad narrated by Colin Kaepernick, a spot scheduled to air during the NFL season opener on Thursday night as well as during the U.S. Open tennis tournament and other major sporting events.
The two-minute spot released on Wednesday (Sep 5) highlights superstar athletes LeBron James, Serena Williams and others, and touches on the controversy of NFL players protesting racial inequality, police brutality and other issues by demonstrating during the national anthem.
Kaepernick narrates the full spot but first physically appears midway through. As a camera pans to reveal Kaepernick's face, a reflection of a United States flag is visible on the facade of a building behind him. Kaepernick says: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything." At the start of the ad, Kaepernick says: "If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good. Stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it's a compliment." The former 49ers quarterback is revealed as the narrator toward the end of the spot.
The commercial's universal theme is about athletes pushing for bigger dreams. It features young athletes who compete amid various challenges, touching on issues of gender, disabilities and weight loss, among others. Kaepernick says at the end: "Don't ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they are crazy enough."
The spot is expected to air this week during college football and MLB games, and stream on various music, gaming and other platforms, Nike spokeswoman Sandra Carreon-John said. Kaepernick hasn't spoken to the media publicly since opting out of his contract with San Francisco and becoming a free agent in 2017. He scored a legal victory last week in his grievance against the NFL and its 32 teams when an arbitrator allowed his case to continue to trial. The quarterback claims NFL team owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests. His case hinges on whether owners worked together rather than decided individually to not sign Kaepernick.
The endorsement deal between Nike and Kaepernick prompted a flood of debate Tuesday. It was a trending topic on Twitter and other social networks, with some fans urging a boycott of the company's clothes and sneakers - even burning and cutting out the signature swoosh logos on their gear. "
President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of protesting NFL players, tweeted Wednesday that Nike is getting "killed" over the endorsement deal. "Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts," Trump tweeted. "I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? "As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!" he said.