“I’m a big fan of Colin Kaepernick, I love the ad,” Noah told viewers during his “Between the Scenes” segment. “I do worry, though, that people have become a little too convinced by corporations that suddenly seem to have political stances.”
Noah then noted that corporations are always trying to make money and look for endorsement deals that will be lucrative. “So as much as people are like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to buy Nikes because they support’…they’re also trying to make money and they see this trend can be profitable,” Noah said.
The ad, released Sept. 3, shows the former 49ers quarterback staring at the camera while the words “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt” flash across the screen. Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017 one year after he became a nationally known figure for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest racial injustice; he is now a free agent and advocates for various causes.
Several notable figures, including LeBron James and President Donald Trump, responded to the ad. Trump, for his part, tweeted, “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”
On The Daily Show Noah told viewers not to buy Nike simply because it is advertising with Kaepernick. “I don’t think people should put their alignment behind brands,” he said. “Buy the shoe because you like the shoe, not because it represents my political beliefs. Because I don’t know that it completely does. You can very quickly go down a rabbit hole of the things that Nike may not do or do that you don’t like, and that may put you in a quagmire.”
Noah didn’t fault Kaepernick for signing an endorsement deal with Nike, which he said could help Kaepernick’s causes. “But for other people, it’s like, ‘Come on.’ Otherwise we’ll go crazy as people tracking down the political ideology of every single item that is sold and made in the world and in America. I promise you now you will buy nothing, you will do nothing, you will eat nothing…. It’s one of those things where you’ll go crazy,” Noah said.
Nike, indeed, has had its fair share of controversy in recent months: In April, The New York Times reported that human resources managers at the sneaker company had ignored complaints of sexual misconduct by female employees for years without changing anything. An informal survey started by women at the company, instead, led to the ousting of several male executives.
Noah concluded his thoughts on Kaepernick’s Nike deal with a joke. “You know what, I’m going to start a company where, you know how you have reversible clothing? I’ll have reversible labels just in case this happens. So like, you buy it as Nike, but you can flip it to Adidas just in case,” he said.
Kapernick’s “Just Do It” ad will air on NBC during the first regular season game of Thursday Night Football.