Commentary

Commentary: Confronting Adversity, Head On

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Via Twitter, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick unveiled an ad campaign celebrating Nike’s 30th anniversary: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Following the release, both Kaepernick and Nike received mixed responses. President Donald Trump’s initial reaction to Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign advertisement reads as such: “Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

Similarly to President Trump, other people have chosen to express their disapproval of the company’s recent campaign over social media, particularly through Twitter and Instagram. People are so divided on what Kaepernick is doing — and how he’s doing it — that they cannot help but feel the need to criticize Nike for involving themselves. One Twitter user went as far as to post a video of a pair of Nike sneakers engulfed in flames with the caption: “First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?”

Regardless of which side of the matter your opinion falls on, it is truly hard to justify discrediting Kaepernick for sacrificing a major part of his life — his livelihood. No one can deny that, at a minimum, he gave up a football career to exercise his constitutional right and to fight for people of color.  Although Nike has steered clear of making a blatant statement on the controversy, the mere fact that the company would choose to honor its 30-year legacy with such a figure conveys a powerful message. It might have taken the public aback, but it has forced people to reconsider Nike’s underlying message. I have found Nike’s new advertisement to genuinely encourage independence and bravery, even if it means “sacrificing everything,” similarly to how Kaepernick chooses to go about his movement.

K.Song/The Phillipian

From a strictly financial aspect, Nike’s underlying message has proved to be a major success. According to “Fortune.com,” Nike’s market value has jumped 6 billion dollars since its launch to reach an all-time high (as of September 23), and stock prices have risen almost 5 percent overall. Additionally, according to “TheDrum.com”, Nike saw a 31 percent increase in sales on Labor Day weekend following the release of the advertisement. Nike’s success can be attributed to its reluctance to back down from accomplishing its goal.

Nike’s 30th anniversary advertisement campaign truly takes a beautiful approach. It preaches independence and bravery and emphasizes the inability to successfully invalidate advocacy.

As a community, it is important that we take on our beliefs with the willingness to dedicate ourselves to their cause.

Christopher Goosens is a PG from Hampden, MA. Contact the author at cgoossens19@andover.edu.