Two years ago pro footballer Colin Kaepernick’s name echoed around the world after the quarterback’s one man protest against racial inequality and police brutality shook up American sport. Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the US national anthem rather than stand with a hand over his heart as the Star Spangled Banner bellowed out before a San Francisco 49ers preseason game was, to be blunt, divisive.
Kaepernick — awarded the Ambassador of Conscience award by Amnesty International in 2018 — has not played professionally since 2017, and is now arguably better known for his engagement with contemporary political and social activism. He has also, it seems, just become the new face of Nike’s longstanding Just Do It campaign.
The Oregon sportswear behemoths first began working with Kaepernick in 2011 but have not used him in advertising for two years. Until now. In a tweet posted on 3 September, Kaepernick announced himself as one of the faces of the 30th anniversary campaign, posting what appears to be a promotional image from the series, along with the caption “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt”.
Nike’s North American vice president of brand, Gino Fisanotti told US sports publication ESPN, “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.” He also notes that the campaign is intended to specifically speak to 15 to 17-year olds.
Kaepernick isn’t the only sportsperson signed up to give Nike a helping hand; he’ll be joined by Serena Williams, LeBron James, Lacey Baker, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham Jr.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018