After the Nike company released a new 30th anniversary “Just Do It” advertising campaign featuring NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a sacrificial hero, criticism has erupted across the country against the move.
Those who are familiar with the raw sacrifice of military service have also weighed in against the campaign.
Taya Kyle, widow of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle depicted in the film “American Sniper,” took to social media where she shared an open letter to Nike and Kaepernick asking, “Sacrificing what exactly?” the Epoch Times reported Wednesday.
Nike’s campaign features a close-up black-and-white image of Kaepernick’s face with the phrase, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
“Nike, I love your gear, but you exhaust my spirit on this one. Your new ad with Colin Kaepernick, I get the message, but that sacrificing everything thing…. It just doesn’t play out here. Sacrificing what exactly? A career?” Kyle wrote in her Facebook post.
Kaepernick took a knee in protest during the national anthem at NFL games, leading to widespread criticism and ratings losses for the NFL. He remains in the league as an unsigned free agent and is suspected of securing a lucrative multi-million-dollar contract with Nike for the campaign, leaving many to wonder why he was chosen as the face of “sacrifice.”
“At best, that is all Colin sacrificed… some money and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it. Maybe he sacrificed the respect of some people while he gained the respect of others. Or maybe he used one career to springboard himself into a different career when the first was waning,” Kyle continued.
“He gained popularity and magazine covers he likely wouldn’t have gotten without getting on his knees or as you say, ‘believing in something.’ I’m also thinking the irony is that while I am not privy to the numbers, it’s likely he gained a lucrative Nike contract. So yeah… that whole ‘sacrificing everything’ is insulting to those who really have sacrificed everything,” she wrote.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kyle then referenced Pat Tillman, a former football player and fallen Army Ranger who left the NFL less than a year after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks to join the military. He was killed in 2004.
“THAT is sacrificing everything for something you believe in,” Kyle said.
She called out those she referred to as “warriors,” who sacrifice their lives for what they believe in although they aren’t recognized for their actions. She added that Nike’s campaign doesn’t teach people about “true grit.”
“Taking a stand, or rather a knee, against the flag which has covered the caskets of so many who actually did sacrifice everything for something they believe in, that we all believe in? Well, the irony of your ad..it almost leaves me speechless. Were you trying to be insulting?” Kyle questioned.
“Maybe you are banking on the fact we won’t take the time to see your lack of judgement in using words that just don’t fit. Maybe you are also banking on us not seeing Nike as kneeling before the flag. Or maybe you want us to see you exactly that way. I don’t know,” she continued..
“All I know is, I was actually in the market for some new kicks and at least for now, I’ve never been more grateful for Under Armour,” Kyle concluded.
Kyle isn’t the only one taken aback by the Nike campaign.
Fans have taken their disgruntlement to social media, where they’ve posted scathing criticisms and even videos of them burning their Nike apparel.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 4, 2018
Nike appears to be following the formula of the NFL, which permitted kneeling protests during the national anthem throughout the 2017 season, despite criticism, and lost sponsors and fans.