Nike sets off the Twitter switchboard


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Kaepernick has set social media ablaze with protest throughout the past few years. Beginning with his protest in 2016 and just recently releasing his Nike ad, Kaepernick has set the stage for change as well as Twitter drama.

Sydney Varner, Editor in Chief

Twitter is no stranger to social media drama and the newest scandal has just resurfaced under a bigger brand name. Nike has taken up the torch of the NFL (National Football League)’s recent protests and has signed their brand on to Colin Kaepernick’s protest with well calculated risk.

In August of 2016, Kaepernick caused an uproar by kneeling during the opening national anthem in protest of police brutality. Twitter exploded in reaction, drawing attention from multiple celebrities, including artists such as John Rich and President Donald Trump. Behind the scenes of the social media chaos, Kaepernick was reaping the consequences of his actions, struggling to stay in the league and eventually taking his case to court against the NFL with charges of collusion.

Nike, the popular athletic clothing brand, sponsored Kaepernick, releasing an ad for their 30th anniversary ad campaign that stated “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” alluding to his previous protest and collusion case. The ad aired Monday Sept. 3 and that same day allegations and opinions were being spread and Nike was receiving all of the backlash.

People have since begun boycotting Nike, destroying their Nike brand apparel under the hashtag, #burnyournikes. Photos of socks with Nike swooshes cut off the top and videos of shirts and shoes being set aflame have since taken over, giving Nike a lot of attention; however, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Whether people agree with Nike’s decision to sponsor Kaepernick or have already burned their favorite pair of kicks, people know who Nike is and thus Nike’s goal was accomplished; they know their brand. This was no accident on Nike’s part and was well planned and timed.  

In addition, burning their previously purchased items makes a statement about one’s personal opinion but people already bought it and the company already gained revenue from their purchase; why would someone destroy perfectly functional and generally expensive athletic gear for the sake of a tweet?

Alongside the Nike boycott, people are expressing their patriotism referring to the initial protests through tweets and posts remaking the ad. The most popular remakes depict images of soldiers usually stating something along the lines of “This is what it looks like to sacrifice everything.”

Kneeling during the national anthem is disrespectful but people need to realize it wasn’t done out of spite. Kaepernick along with other African American NFL players kneeled in 2016 in protest of police brutality across America; Starting an action with a purpose and a cause.

As for the troops being used a scapegoat evidence for why Kaepernick and Nike are wrong, think of what they sacrifice for. Yes, American troops go overseas, put their lives on the line and oftentimes lose them for the protection of our country, but what are they protecting? They are protecting our rights. They are protecting our constitutional rights including the rights to free speech and assembly; our rights that make our voices heard.  

The People need to understand our right to speech and to protest is a thing that makes this country great, not a thing that makes a problem for this country. We have a right to opinions and every person’s are different but next time, before you burn your shoes to make a statement, think of why; think of how your only using those shoes to further fuel Twitters fire.

For more information, contact Sydney Varner at [email protected]