We are two days away from the start of the 2018-2019 football season. Did we really think we would make it through pre-season and into the official start without a “scandal?” Come on, people! Don’t you know America well enough by now? Another day, another boycott/protest/movement.
Unless you live under a rock or have no access to the internet and interact with people that also have no access to the internet, you have surely seen or at least heard about, THE ad. The newest Nike advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick. Again, excluding rock dwellers, you should also know who Colin Kaepernick is. But, let’s take a walk down memory lane just for the heck of it.
Colin Kaepernick was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. Kaepernick was a back up during the 2011 season. In 2012 Kaepernick became the starting quarterback, taking the team to the Superbowl (but losing to the Ravens by 3, in case you missed it). Kaepernick continued to start/have good seasons and in 2014 he signed a six year contract extension, worth up to $126 million. In 2015, after going 1-10, Kaepernick lost his starting position and at the end of the 2015 season Kaepernick expressed interest in being traded. Shortly after the 2016 season, in March 2017, Kaepernick opted out of his newly restructured contract.
In the third preseason game of 2016 Colin Kaepernick was seen sitting during the national anthem. In a post game interview Kaepernick stated, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” Fast forward to present day and Kaepernick started a movement in the NFL that has since led to fight after fight (within social media) and meeting after meeting (within the NFL). More players decided to kneel (Kaepernick switched to kneeling at the suggestion of a veteran), President Trump got involved (multiple times, without being asked…), and now ESPN will not be broadcasting the national anthem before football games. I truly believe this is what T-Swift was referring to when she said “this is why we can’t have nice things.”
According to the Nike ad, Kaepernick “sacrificed everything” by kneeling and starting this movement. But, here’s the thing. A lot of people don’t believe Kaepernick sacrificed anything. Literally nothing. While I don’t agree that he didn’t sacrifice anything, I don’t think he sacrificed “everything.” There is where my issue with the ad lies. With one little word. To be honest, I think a lot of people’s issues are with just the word “everything,” but we’re all too stubborn to recognize or admit that.
So, I’ll agree that Kaepernick sacrificed. I think he sacrificed his reputation, and possibly the chance to play professional football again. But, the dude is still worth millions of dollars. I’ll acknowledge, he did not make the ultimate sacrifice (death, people, I’m talking about death), which I suppose could equal “everything.” But, Kaepernick is still healthy, he still has his family and true friends, and he has this movement. He’s helped a lot of people (through donations and fundraisers and more) since his time on the field.
Now, I have a theory. I believe that Kaepernick has always been genuine about this entire movement. I also believe that he never thought that if he sat down, during that third preseason game in 2016, two years later it would be throwing the USA for a loop. But, I do think the media attention got to his head a bit. Leading us to “the opt out.” Remember Lebron’s “The Decision?” Years ago LeBron James announced, in a televised special entitled “The Decision,” that he was leaving Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat. I equate Kaepernick’s “opt out” to “The Decision.” I think a part (deep down, perhaps subconsciously) of Kaepernick believed a media hungry team might snatch him up. Heck, Michael Vick fought dogs and still ended up back in the NFL with the Eagles. But, I think maybe he should’ve weighed his options a little more, and perhaps he might not have opted out. Would the 49ers have played him, let alone started him, going forward? Probably not. But still, it came down to his decision to opt out.
So, here we are. Two years after the first kneel/sit, and the man has a new line at Nike. Has he sacrificed? Sure. He’s been ripped a part in the media and he basically lost his job. He could have stood right back up when all of this got bigger than he expected. But, he didn’t. So, props for following through Colin Kaepernick. But did he sacrifice everything? No way. Kaepernick has a new reputation, a new job, and a new source of income.
There is someone, or more specifically some entity, that did sacrifice everything here. Nike. I’ll give credit where credit is due. Like my mom said, they put their money where their mouth is. Stocks are plummeting, people are burning their products (not even going to touch this topic…), and a lot of people are swearing off Nike. But, they took a stand. Nike sacrificed everything to take a stand. Let’s see how it turns out.
All views are my own, please no hateful comments, we are all friends!
✌️ Katie C.