Days before the new NFL season is set to begin, Nike
announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of their latest advertisement campaign. The 30th
anniversary of the famous “Just Do It” campaign comes during a period in which many NFL games are mired in political discourse, in great part due to Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem before games in the fall of 2016. Since then, many athletes around the globe have followed suit. Kaepernick and others
repeatedly that they are not protesting the anthem but are choosing to protest police violence against African Americans by kneeling during the anthem. Bob Cook writes in Forbes
that Nike may be okay with leaving behind some older fans who may take issue with anything related to Kaepernick. Cook writes, “So it makes fiscal sense – really, the only sense that matters to a company – for Nike to throw its lot in with Kaepernick, rather than with those upset by what he has wrought
. Clearly, their numbers show that young consumers and athletes are on that side.” According to PRRI data
from January, 60 percent of the country believes that athletes should be required to stand for the playing of the national anthem before sporting events. Americans are largely aware that professional athletes first started kneeling during the anthem to protest police violence against African Americans. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of the public identify this as the original motivation for the national anthem protests. Only 13 percent say these protests are in opposition to the election of Donald Trump, and eight percent say they are a response to negative treatment of players by the NFL management.