Nike, a force to be reckoned with

The United States was founded by immigrants, it was born out of protest and fueled by blood. Today, Americans seem so to quickly forget our violent past. We treat the flag like it is the most important symbol of them all, yet we forget what it stands for.

We are supposed to be the land of the free. Free of oppression, free to speak our minds and free to stand up for ourselves. Yet somehow our flag has become something we can not “disrespect.” This is not a dictatorship, our flag is not a domineering leader.

Our flag ought to be a rally cry for the underdog. To protest in its presence feels like the most American thing one can do.

Nike is as iconic as Coca-Cola when it comes to brand identification. While companies are always trying to strategically place themselves in line with things that are happening in the world, It doesn’t always work the way it was intended. Such as the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad.

However, sometimes it works seamlessly. Nike’s recent advertisement, starring Colin Kaepernick, is proof of this. Nike took a stance without even having to say a word about the “controversy.”

Kaepernick is shown in the ad meticulously dressed. The style was reminiscent of fashion from the time of The Civil Rights Movement. Today people are still fighting for those rights. There is still a system of bias which slants the tables in favor of or against people simply because of their heritage. There are still social stigmas that lead to innocent deaths everyday.

Nike putting out an ad saying that, as a brand, they support a leader in a movement is bold. However, we are living in bold times. Our country is so deeply divided on everything.

When people say there are no politics in sports, they are forgetting that this movement is not political in birth. This is about death tolls and the mismanagement of police systems. If someone thinks this is purely a political movement, then they are discounting the pain of generations of families who have been undermined by the systems in place in this country.

Next someone would point to the “threatening” individuals of the movement. Those who seem to preach violence. Every movement has a good side and a rough side. Throughout history, our founding fathers had the “radicals” and the moderates. One can not discredit a whole group of people simply because of a few individuals.

This goes onto the other side, the police. It is true that officers risk their lives everyday, but they ought not be free of criticism too. Policing strategies should be ever evolving. No two situations are alike, police need better funding for more efficient training.

At the end of the day, Nike has knelled and if boycotting a brand because they support freedom of speech is something someone believes in, they should reconsider what that flag actually means to them.

Rachael Bayuk can be reached at [email protected] or @BayukRachael on Twitter.