One week after Nike unveiled an inspirational U.S. Open promotional video starring Serena Williams, the sneaker giant returns with a new, powerful ad — this time starring Colin Kaepernick. The 30-year-old athlete and activist made his debut as the latest face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign on Monday (Sep. 3).
The ad features a black-and-white close-up photo of the former 49ers player, along with the quote: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick unveiled the image via Twitter Monday afternoon, and it went viral within an hour.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
The advert commemorates the 30-year-anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign, and perfectly reflects the cost of fighting injustice, which in Kaepernick’s case could have permanently ended his NFL career. The Wisconsin native, who signed with Nike in 2011, has quietly remained on the company’s endorsement roster though he hasn’t appeared in an advertisement in two years, ESPN reports.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, said in an interview with ESPN. The new campaign, featuring athletes such as Williams, LeBron James, and Odell Beckham Jr., is aimed at introducing Nike’s longstanding “Just Do It” motto ” to a new generation of athletes.”
In the two years since Kaepernick and Eric Reid began taking a knee to bring awareness to police brutality, the movement has seemingly grown larger. And Kaepernick’s ability to continue to galvanize fellow athletes — even as a free-agent — directly threatens the NFL’s attempts to stop players from speaking up against racial oppression (at least while they’re “on the clock”).
Last week, an arbitrator ruled that Kaepernick’s collusion case against the league will indeed go to trial, despite the NFL’s attempts to have the case thrown out.