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Nike’s support of Kaepernick doesn’t make them woke; it makes them money

Kaepernick+throws+a+pass+in+Superbowl+XLVII.+Kaepernick+became+a+controversial+figure+following+his+protests+during+the+national+anthem%2C+and+is+now+the+face+of+a+major+Nike+advertising+campaign.
Kaepernick throws a pass in Superbowl XLVII. Kaepernick became a controversial figure following his protests during the national anthem, and is now the face of a major Nike advertising campaign.

Kaepernick throws a pass in Superbowl XLVII. Kaepernick became a controversial figure following his protests during the national anthem, and is now the face of a major Nike advertising campaign.

Kaepernick throws a pass in Superbowl XLVII. Kaepernick became a controversial figure following his protests during the national anthem, and is now the face of a major Nike advertising campaign.

By Ted Rock

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Nike may think their Colin Kaepernick ad makes them “woke,” but I’m not buying what they’re selling. In the ad, Kaepernick encourages people to rise up and overcome adversity. He urges one handed football fans to play professionally and low-income tennis players to become the greatest in the world.

While many were impressed with the brand for airing the controversial ad, others were upset. Kaepernick became a divisive figure when he knelt during the national anthem before NFL games in 2016. Nike’s choice to support him enraged many who believe Kaepernick’s protest methods are disrespectful and unpatriotic. Nike doesn’t seem to have any correlation with Kaepernick and his message other than slapping their logo on at the end of his speech. The company is merely exploiting his recent popularity to sell their products.

And it’s working. People across the country now see buying Nike as a way to support Kaepernick. That’s helpful for Nike: Sprout Social found that 78 percent of American liberals, who tend to support Kaepernick, support brands interfering in politics, while only about half of conservatives feel the same. In fact, Nike’s sales have increased by 31 percent since airing the ad.

Nike isn’t a company famed for support of ethics for ethics’ sake, either. In the 1990s, a UC Berkeley report found that their “employees” in Vietnam were only paid $40 a month, and that number has only declined since.

Of course, sweatshop labor is nothing new in the fashion industry. It’s a sad fact of capitalism that getting ethically produced clothing is nearly impossible. We just need to remember that Nike is no moral standout.

My point isn’t that Nike is inherently bad for running the ad. You can still buy Nike shoes, but don’t view it as more ethical or politically correct than the next brand. Every company has its flaws. Nike probably doesn’t care about Kaepernick or social justice, they just care about profit. So don’t buy Nike shoes because you like Kaepernick, just buy Nike shoes because you like the shoes. We shouldn’t attach brands to politics or social issues just because they know how to pander to us.

About the Writer
Ted Rock, Opinion Writer

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11

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