AshleyRohrs/ September 18, 2018/ Ashley Rohrs, Editorial, Featured, Features, Grace Reiter, Opinion

Grace Reiter
Ashley Rohrs
eSomethin Staff

Colin Kaepernick, former starting quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, is the new face of Nike as of early September 2018.  His Nike slogan, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” refers to a player protest that he took part in on the 26th of August, 2016, during the 49ers final preseason game.  

He knelt during the National Anthem, played to respect our country and those who have fought for us, prior to the game. He took a knee in protest of social offenses against African-Americans.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,’ Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview after the game.  “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Many controversies contribute to this issue.  Detractors see his action of taking a knee as a sign of disrespect against the country and the veterans that have fought hard for freedoms, but this is not Kaepernick’s intention.  He more so wants to spread awareness about wrongdoings against African-Americans.

READ: “Boycott Nike? Just Do it,” an eSomethin Opinion-Editorial

We have a lot of people that are oppressed. We have a lot of people that aren’t treated equally, aren’t given equal opportunities.  Police brutality is a huge thing that needs to be addressed. There are a lot of issues that need to be talked about, need to be brought to life, and we need to fix those,”  Kaepernick said.

 He goes onto say, “I realize that men and women of the military go out and sacrifice their lives and put their selves in harm’s way for my freedom of speech and my freedoms in this country, and my freedom to take a seat or take a knee, so I have the utmost respect for them, and I think what I did was taken out of context and spun a different way.”

People across the country can be found burning their Nike apparel in opposition to Kaepernick and Nike’s decision to make him the face of their advertisement.  However, critics fail to realize that by doing this, they are buying Nike apparel and further spreading exactly what Nike wanted—attention. 

The company’s stock has risen significantly since the unveiling of the Kaepernick campaign. According to Fox News, “The company’s stock rose as high as $83.90, surpassing its previous record, before closing at $83.47 on Thursday,” September 14th.

The varying opinions can also be found in Perrysburg schools.  

Senior, Grant Hayward said, “I think Nike has been making a statement, personally.  I think it’s for the best. It seems like finally a company’s not doing something for money, they’re doing something because they stand for an idea… I think what [Colin Kaepernick] is doing is going to make a change finally.  He’s putting it out on a platform where everybody can see it, and whether everybody agrees with it or not I just think he’s finally doing something about it. I respect that.”

Ryan Musgrove, a Perrysburg High School sophomore, sees Kaepernick’s actions differently.  He said, “It’s not really a political debate.  [Kaepernick] is taking a knee for racism, but he’s really just a taking knee on the people who fought for our flag.  He’s basically just disrespecting America. He hates basically America.” 

According to Business Insider, Benjamin Starks, a veteran of the US Navy and the US Army Reserves talks about Colin’s movement. “He is exercising his constitutional right, and I’m glad that he’s doing it”.  Another man of combat, Michael Sands, who is also a son of a World War II veteran and also a father of an Army Officer who had served in Afghanistan, stated “I can tell you, speaking for three generations of my family, it is PRECISELY for men like Kaepernick, and his right to peacefully protest injustice, that we were willing to serve.”  He goes on to say, “Want to respect the American flag? Then respect the ideals for which it stands. Bullying language and calling peaceful protesters ‘sons of [explicit]’ who should be fired aren’t among them”.

The Nike controversy causes many political debates among everyone, but as citizens of the United States of America, everyone should be allowed to peacefully protest against what they believe is wrong no matter the issue. We think that burning your Nike clothes is unnecessary. The company is still profiting whether you are against Kaepernick and Nike or not. 

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