On Labor Day, sportswear giant Nike unveiled its new “Just Do It” ad featuring former NFL player and national anthem protest inventor Colin Kaepernick. The anti-American appearance of this effort is bad enough, but there is also an inherently immoral aspect to this campaign above and beyond Kaepernick’s hate for this great country.
On Monday — Labor Day, no less — Nike introduced its ad for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” series of ads.
The ad features a close-up of Kaepernick with the caption, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” over his face.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick has had a contract with Nike since 2011 even though he has not played professional football since turning free agent in 2016, the season he invented the anti-American protest during the playing of the national anthem.
By some reports Nike probably pulled the trigger on this ad because other sportswear companies were sniffing around Kaepernick and Nike didn’t want to lose him.
According to Yahoo! reporter Charles Robinson, both Adidas and Puma were also talking about wooing Kaepernick for new ad campaigns.
As Robinson reported:
Industry insiders told Yahoo Sports that Adidas and Puma were among multiple brands that had conversations about potentially building around Kaepernick if Nike failed to renew his deal following a long stretch of endorsement inactivity.
‘We talked about Colin in March. A lot, actually,’ one shoe industry executive said. ‘We all know the specific kind of deals NFL players are on with each other. His deal was running out, and he had a shoe commitment that hadn’t been done for whatever reason. I’m sure it was because of everything that was going on around him. But it looked like Nike was running out the clock on [his deal] because he didn’t have a lot of time left and nothing was really happening with him. So there were some discussions for us about what kind of an endorser he could be.’
So, Nike probably jumped on the deal to prevent Kaepernick from abandoning them.
The move brought a lot of condemnation Nike’s way. By the next morning its stock was down three percent.
According to the New York Post:
Shares of Nike fell 3 percent on Tuesday as calls for a boycott of the sportswear giant gained traction on social media following its choice of Colin Kaepernick as a face for the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan.
Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter. Some posted images of themselves burning and ripping their Nike shoes and apparel.
“First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country,” Twitter user @sclancy79 said in a post retweeted 16,000 times. “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?”
But most all of that blowback above is political. I mentioned at the outset that Nike also failed a moral test.
Remember, the slogan that accompanies the Kaepernick ad essentially takes what the company obviously thinks is a high-minded position, that of taking a stand about “something.”
“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Sounds good, right? But the fact is, this slogan is empty of logic, morals, and meaning. Indeed, it can be read as inviting bad people to do bad things.
Think about this empty, idiotic phrase: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Believe in “something”? Of course, the “some” part of something is not the important part. It’s the THING, not the SOME, we need to consider. After all, Nazism, murder, rape, slavery, theft, corruption, all of those terrible ideas are “things” that could be “believed” in.
So, is Nike saying that just every “something” is worth sacrificing for? The Germans sacrificed millions of lives for Hitler’s “something.” Was that worth “sacrificing” for?
Put directly: the Nazis in WWII “believed” in “something” and they sure “sacrificed everything” for that “something.” So, does that “sacrificing” make the Nazis good? By Nike’s simpleton and immoral logic, yes it does.
Morals and causes are not the same thing. You can have a cause you truly believe in that is utterly immoral. Some people work to get people to think raping children is a good, moral action. But it is not.
But using Nike’s empty moralizing, just anything is worth sacrificing for, as long as you “believe” in it.
Nike should be ashamed of its stupidity and it immoral slogan.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.