Whether or not you’re in the loop on what’s going on, you’ve surely seen the memes on social media poking fun at Nike and Colin Kaepernick.
What’s going on is that Kaepernick recently signed a multi-year contract with Nike, highlighting his act of kneeling during the National Anthem beginning in 2016. The ad reads “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
In protest, the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) issued a letter to Nike CEO Mark Parker, condemning his selection of Kaepernick to represent Nike. NAPO President Michael McHale wrote;
The inclusion of Mr. Kaepernick in Nike’s “Just Do It” ad campaign also perpetuates the falsehood that police are racist and aiming to use force against African Americans and persons of color. In reality, officers across the nation risk their lives not only protecting the athletes featured in Nike’s various campaigns, but also serve aspiring athletes across the country who use the Nike brand, through the thousands of Police Athletic Leagues, Boys and Girls Clubs and Big Brother/Big Sister programs where our officers donate their time and energy. They deserve to have the respect and full support of corporate citizens like Nike.
The letter also states that losing his NFL contract is hardly a “sacrifice,” especially when compared to the hundreds of officers, first responders, and soldiers who give their lives to protect this country and its people.
In response to the letter, the National Black Police Association (NBPA) wrote their own letter to Nike. One paragraph states;
NAPO believes that Mr. Kaepernick’s choice to openly protest police brutality, racism, and social injustices in this country makes him anti-police. On the contrary, the NBPA believe that Mr. Kaepernick’s stance is in direct alignment with what law enforcement stands for – the protection of the people, their human rights, their dignity, their safety, and their rights as American citizens. NAPO has shown an adeptness at maintaining the police status quo and the tone in their letter further validates Mr. Kaepernick’s concerns, as it undermines the trust that is needed by law enforcement in order for the profession to maintain its legitimacy. That NAPO has chosen this matter to take a stance, only perpetuates that police are racist, with no regard, acknowledgement, respect or understanding of the issues and concerns of the African American community.
This issue has gone nation-wide, sparking many debates, memes, and editorials. In an article posted on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the writer opines that more “All-American” corporations should take a stand for what politicians are too chicken to do.
All right – let’s take a step back. This whole “kneeling” thing has been going on for two years now. Many people are divided, proclaiming opinions that Kaepernick has the First Amendment right to do whatever he so chooses, politics shouldn’t be involved in football, someone who makes millions per year has no justification in claiming police brutality, and so on. Opinions aside, let’s look at some facts:
The First Amendment is one of the rules listed in our Constitution. A Constitution is, by definition, a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed. In other words, our Constitution is a list of directions, instructions, rules and rights for our country and its people.
A national anthem, by definition, is a solemn patriotic song officially adopted by a country as an expression of national identity. Therefore, when our national anthem is played, and we stand with our hand over our hearts, we are proclaiming that we are proud to be American citizens, and thankful for all the rights we have as American citizens.
So…if you are to kneel during the National Anthem, symbolically showing disrespect for your nation, then are you not forfeiting all rights given to you by that nation?
People keep arguing that it is Kaepernick’s First Amendment right to kneel during the National Anthem. But how can you disrespect the very thing that gave you that right in the first place?!
Kaepernick took the easy way out. He used a very publicized sport to get attention. The better, more effective thing to do would be to use your fame and prestige to effectively promote change where you feel it is needed. Thankfully, some NFL players are doing this, as reported by USA Today.
At this point, it’s difficult to say how this ad campaign will affect our police officers. Hopefully we won’t see an insurgence of brain-washed, Nike-donned idiots harassing cops because they feel it’s the “right thing to do”. If people are going to follow Kaepernick and Nike, hopefully one of them will make the right move and talk to politicians, police officers, and African-Americans, to find out why we have cases of police brutality in the first place.