by: Bailey Biddle
Colin Kaepernick has dominated the sports world news for a number of years now, when he first decided to take a knee during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL preseason and continued on into the NFL regular season. Colins reasoning behind this protest was to protest police shootings of African-American men and other social injustices faced by black people in the United States. Colin received continuous news coverage and attention whether it was good or bad. To some became an American hero, and to others a villain. After this, Kaepernick played his final season in San Francisco by opting out of his contract in 2017, and officially became a free agent in the National Football League. He had a visit with the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, but was still not on board with standing for the national anthem and it was postponed. Colin then proceeded to file a collusion grievance against the league that claimed he was being kept out of the National Football League because of the anthem protests.
This leads us to the next chapter in the Colin Kaepernick media buzz, The Nike 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign that made Kaepernick the face of the new clothing line. This was a controversial move by Nike not only making Kaepernick the face of it, but the slogan, which states, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” is loved and hated by many in America. Many people’s social media accounts are running rampant with pictures and videos of people burning or tearing their Nike gear. We have to ask ourselves what benefit does burning our already paid for Nike stuff send to other people and the company. Did Colin really sacrifice everything for a protest, which eventually turned out to be his demise, or does it all comes down to how he performed on the football field. No matter what happens with Kaepernick, Nike will always be a top brand for sports that loves to take stand beside controversial sports figures.
Colin Kaepernick did use his American right to freely and peacefully protest, and I can respect him for that, but did it really come down to the protest. The protest does play a major factor now that teams get fined for a player who kneels during a national anthem, but for me, I think that it came down to Colin’s performance as a quarterback in his last couple seasons in the NFL. During Kaepernick’s last 2 seasons with the 49ers, his win to loss total was three and sixteen in two back to back regular seasons. For a starting quarterback this is not a good stat total to have and Kaepernick was eventually pulled from starting, and his replacement Blaine Gabbert. Blaine Gabbert, who is now the back up for the Tennessee Titans, in 45 games started has a win-loss record of 11 and 34 games. Blaine Gabbert has also thrown 45 touchdown passes and 44 interceptions total in all his career games played.
Now looking at the man who started over Colin Kaepernick, do we really think that the protest is the one and only factor that he is not on an NFL roster? I think Colin Kaepernick will make a lot of profit with Nike, and that his brand will be worn by many Americans that resemble Kaepernick as an American rights social activist. Just as the Colin Kaepernick buzz began to slowly die down, Nike brought this back to the surface for political, economic, or social gain to help potentially help their brand succeed in all aspects of the game. No matter whom is at the helm of a Nike clothing line and brand, Nike will continue to thrive economically no matter what happens. As we look back and reflect on Nike’s slogan for Kaepernick did the NFL really ostracize him from the league only because of his kneeling protests. Colin Kaepernick led his team to a super bowl early on in his career and once the league knew how to stop a running quarterback, it all went downhill for him. I think that the kneeling is a major factor, but at the end of the day to be a quarterback in the NFL it’s all based on talent, record, and stats and Colin Kaepernick simply did not have the resume to back that up his final years of his career.