Why now?

Nike has revealed this month that Colin Kaepernick will head their “Just Do It” 30th year anniversary. Nike signed Kaepernick back in 2011 during his rookie season with the San Francisco 49ers. Nike for decades has sponsored the greatest athletes of every generation. Most importantly, they have sponsored the development of athletes who embody cultural change. Tiger Woods’ impact on golf, no other brand could have proven as an equal asset to his career than Nike. Serena Williams has established herself as arguably the best athlete of all-time, how much of her platform can be accredited to her sponsorship with Nike? But many people are questioning the timing of Nike’s 30th-anniversary press release, why now?

Kaepernick’s Grievance Granted Trial

Colin Kaepernick filled a grievance for conspiracy against the NFL and NFL owners back in October 2017. Despite the NFL’s request for summary judgment, arbitrator Stephen Burbank, ruled against the National Football League just this month. Kaepernick’s initial evidence is the only reason Burbank ruled this way. A trial of this magnitude encompasses a variety of aspects including the dissolution of the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement), a potential financial settlement before trial, and the chance of President Donald Trump’s cooperation. This proceeding will not be a regular trial though. Attorneys will present information, witnesses will testify under oath, and a jury/judge are not present. University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephen Burbank will have the honors. In granting Kaepernick’s formal trial, I would assume he has to left some folks in the NFL slightly bothered.

Kaepernick’s Sacrifice

Where were these same bothered individuals when 12 black men and women (whose name appeared on Randy Moss’ tie during his Hall of Fame speech) were killed by the police? Nike’s 30th “Just Do It” Anniversary reads, ‘Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.’ Colin chose to use his platform as a professional athlete to protest police brutality. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” Kaepernick explains to reporters back in 2016. Kaepernick’s ability to protest nonviolently is the foundation of being an American. Minorities as a whole do not get their fair share in the U.S. and for Kaepernick to use his platform to broadcast his protest, to some, is disrespectful. Loving your country is one thing, ignoring your country’s systematic oppression against minorities since slave ships, plantations, and the Jim Crow laws is another. Loving your men in blue is one thing, rejecting the notion that some policemen have alternative supremacy agendas that have been passed down from dog attacks and fire hosing is another. Nothing is ever black and white, but Kaepernick’s sacrifice is heroic as any athlete ever.

Checks over Stripes

“Would you rather be playing football, getting your head dinged in, or would you rather be an iconic figure for the rest of your life?” Jay-z tells CNN’s, Van Jones. Examining influential names within sports history, those individuals have made a choice to be just as iconic on the field as off. “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who have leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN. This morning I woke up to individuals cutting off Nike’s “Swoosh” emblem on their sports apparel. People have actually chosen to boycott a company that supports the protest of a system of corruption against U.S. Americans. Sounds about white. African-Americans makeup about 14% of U.S. Americans but hold $1.2 trillion spending power annually (if you think boycotting Nike will work). And speaking on conflicts of interest, Nike is currently the NFL’s official apparel sponsor and manufactures the jerseys and game day apparel worn by all 32 franchises. Kudos to you Nike execs, checkmate.

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