The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback today unveiled a new ad with Nike for the 30th anniversary of the brand’s iconic “Just Do It” campaign, sharing the news on social media with the caption, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick, who’s been a Nike athlete since 2011, stirred controversy after he kneeled instead of stood during the national anthem prior to a game in the 2016 NFL preseason to protest police brutality and discrimination against people of color.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he explained in a post-game interview. “To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”
After opting out of his contract with the team in March last year, the 30-year-old pro football player filed a collusion grievance against the league and remains a free agent. (Nike is the official apparel sponsor of the NFL.)
Now, in his first campaign with the sportswear giant in more than two years, Kaepernick is back to send a message for social justice.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, Gino Fisanotti, told ESPN.
The ad also comes a few months after the Swoosh’s rival, Adidas, offered Kaepernick an endorsement deal if he signed onto a new team. The new NFL season kicks off on Thursday night.
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