Editorial: Nike Just Did It

It has been almost impossible to escape the controversy surrounding the recent Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Nike aired the campaign ad last week just before the start of the NFL Season to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their slogan “Just Do It.”

The ad appeared to be a nod to the protest Kaepernick started last year where NFL football players began kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against African-Americans. Quickly after the ad came out, many people took to burning Nike products, tearing the swoosh logo off of clothing, protesting on social media, boycotting the stores, and/or creating endless memes that mock the ad.

Refusing to back down even after protests had started Nike instead aired a TV commercial several days later during the NFL’s regular season kick off game giving the ad and controversy prime-time exposure and adding fuel to the inferno on social media.

The commercial was voiced by Kaepernick, but mainly focused on athletes that had overcome diversities and who had refused to give up even when the odds were stacked against them. The ad was very inspirational, calling all athletes to continue their dreams even if people say they are crazy and even if people laugh, “because what nonbelievers fail to understand is calling a dream crazy isn’t an insult; it’s a complement.”

This ad pushes people to believe in themselves, to believe in their dreams, and to believe in something greater than themselves to unite us together, for equality, freedom and the right to dream and speak up.

The United States is a country that embodies this very spirit by striving to overcome diversities and refusing to give up especially in the name of freedom. We are a country that stands united under one nation. The American spirit is how our country has survived and prospered and is the very fabric of our democracy, it is why we fight for freedom.

It is important to recognize that while America should be this great place that stands united under one nation we are becoming ever more divided, and that is not a nation that stands strong. That is a nation that is breaking the legs of others and standing on top of them for their own benefit.

Living in this country where racism, inequality, sexism and hatred are still so very rampant, it is important to continue to fight for equality for all, and to recognize that not everyone has the same opportunities, even though they should.

Even if you don’t agree with how Kaepernick expressed his freedom of speech, or his freedom to protest against something he felt was unjust, it is still his right as an American to do both. It is the very essence of what makes America so great because we have the freedom and the right to express our beliefs.

It is upsetting that this greatness is being diminished, with people like our political leaders, who want to sensor what people do and do not have a right to say. That is not a great America.

Watching the back and forth arguments that have ensued as a result of this ad, though, is enough to make anyone dizzy, and brings forth the question, “Have we truly lost our humanity for each other?”

Do we no longer have the tact or ability to argue a point with dignity and respect? Or are we so protected by the falseness of our screens that provide a steady stream of social media outlets that we no longer possess the ability to have a good conversation with each other?

Regardless of where you stand with this issue, if you can’t hear the other side’s opinion or point of view without interrupting or casting judgement then how can change ever occur? If we as a society continue to blast each other in ways that hold no boundaries, that give little to no regard to how our words affect others, we will continue to hurt one another. This ugly back and forth will linger and the decay of our society will proceed.

Yet, if we merely stop and listen to one another and learn to respect each other and are willing to have conversations that are open for discussion, then we will be able to work together, united, to find solutions to our problems.

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