‘Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Only in America could a middling quarterback, the product of a privileged upbringing, facing the autumn of his career, manage to convert his inability to secure a contract into a lucrative marketing deal simply by growing his hair out and kneeling when he should be standing.
Perhaps it is a reflection of the perverse nature of identity politics, or maybe Colin Kaepernick is simply far better at marketing himself than he was at regularly hitting the end zone.
With another NFL season about to start, Nike announced that it was making the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback the new face celebrating the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign.
It comes on the heels of another Kaepernick business move, to trademark the T-shirt slogan “I’m with Kap” and forward motion in a grievance against the NFL alleging discrimination, which seems poised to go to court.
Kaepernick began his kneeling campaign in April 2016. Although the mixed-race Kaepernick was himself raised by white adoptive parents in a comfortable, suburban setting, he said he was protesting the oppression of African Americans.
After getting benched for performance reasons, he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017 but was never signed by any other franchise.
The attention garnered him recognition in left-leaning outlets from ESPN to GQ to the ACLU, and the kneeling debate hit fever pitch the following season after President Donald Trump spoke out against it.
A national poll last week conducted by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 54 percent of respondents said it was inappropriate to kneel during the national anthem.
The NFL established guidelines against the kneeling that would fine players who weren’t in compliance, as it does for pretty much any other type of distracting or unseemly behavior from players.
However, objections from the players’ union forced the league to suspend the policy.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that he seems to be cashing in quite well without having to lift a finger, Kaepernick recently posted a Nike ad to his Twitter that implied his protest had entailed “sacrificing everything.”
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/SRWkMIDdaO
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018