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In the ad, unveiled a year ago, the former NFL quarterback is looking at the camera, and printed over the image is: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.”
Upon its debut, social media was alive almost immediately with a mixture of those who loved the move by Nike and supported it, and others who hated the ad and called for a boycott of the “anti-American” business.
Kaepernick has been a Nike athlete since 2011, but he has not played on an NFL team since 2016.
Kaepernick created a national firestorm when he began kneeling during the National Anthem in an effort to protest African-American inequality in America.
Since then, a number of players on nearly every NFL team have kneeled or raised a fist during the anthem for the same protest.
President Donald Trump made the protest action one of his main talking points, going so far as to call any player who kneels a “son of a bitch” and demanding they be fired. Through his campaign, he also blasted networks for announcing they would not air the anthem portion of the pregame. That is the standard for most, unless it is a special circumstance.
The league and the NFLPA have defended the right for those who wanted to protest peacefully.
In response to the ad, the NFL said in a statement last year: “The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vp communications and public affairs, said in a statement. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
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