The athletic company Nike just celebrated the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” slogan and many were not thrilled with their new campaign. It features an advertisement of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s face with the words, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick came under scrutiny in recent months for kneeling during the National Anthem, sparking a national conversation about racial injustice. The outrage with Kaepernick and his history is misguided. Burning Nike products is nothing more than a frivolous tantrum.
Originally, Nike experienced a wave of positive feedback, which was followed by a surge of criticism for the company and their choice for the face of the campaign.
Right-wing columnist Kurt Schlichter was particularly outspoken about the topic on Fox News.
“This is scummy, this is lousy, this is rotten, and I’m never buying another Nike product again and I think millions of Americans are going to agree,” Schlichter said.
Kaepernick has received criticism and ostracization after he kneeled during the National Anthem to protest the racial injustice in the United States, especially through policing. This statement sparked outrage among many Americans who felt that the action was wrong and that there was no inequality between racial groups.
Racial profiling statistics, however, speak volumes during these disputes. Sixty-five percent of Hispanic drivers are likely to receive a ticket during a traffic stop. This is higher than Caucasian/White drivers at 56 percent or African-American/Black drivers at 55.8 percent, according to Vittana.
The probability of being black, unarmed and shot by police is about 3.49 times the probability of being white, unarmed and shot by police on average, also according to Vittana.
Kaepernick’s form of non-violent protest is justified in today’s turbulent and misinformed society. His and other players’ protests parallel the sit-ins and non-violent protest methods of the Civil Rights Movement.
Texas Rep. Beto O’ Rourke justified many of the protests made during football games, according to The Guardian.
“Black men unarmed, black teenagers unarmed and black children unarmed are being killed at a frightening level right now including by members of law enforcement without accountability,” O’ Rourke said.
“[Football players] take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem to ensure that we fix that, this is why they’re doing it and I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up or taking a knee for your rights.”
America was founded by people escaping persecution and to start new lives where they could be whoever they would like, no matter who they were. America was built on protest since its conception in the Revolutionary War. To protest something for the betterment of others is not a disgrace to our country or our veterans.
Nevertheless, burning something because you don’t like a campaign spokesperson who stood up for the mistreatment of marginalized groups is misguided. The burning of one’s personal items is pointless.
If these items are in someone’s possession, they have already paid the company their money; they don’t receive a refund because they are burning them in protest. The only people these frivolous forms of protest hurt are the buyers because they are burning things they paid for. The protest has no real merit behind it.