The NFL’s opening season game will take place Thursday night, and Nike plans to air its new “Just Do It” commercial featuring football player Colin Kaepernick. An ad for the campaign with Kaepernick has sparked nationwide controversy over the video’s message, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The commercial, just over two minutes long, uses Kaepernick’s narration and stories of people playing sports while urging viewers to follow their dreams, Business Insider reported Wednesday.
The video includes amateur athletes, as well as professional athletes such as tennis player Serena Williams, basketball player LeBron James, linebacker Shaquem Griffin, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and more.
Watch the commercial here:
“If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good,” the commercial begins. “Stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand, is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.”
Seconds before the end of the commercial, Kaepernick appears for the first time, even though he has been narrating the whole video.
“So don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if you’re crazy enough,” he says before walking off screen.
“It’s only crazy until you do it,” the text says at the end of the commercial. “Just do it.”
Nike and Kaepernick recently came under fire for the print advertisement campaign signifying the company’s 30-year anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan.
Kaepernick is featured in a close-up black-and-white image of with the phrase, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee in protest of alleged police brutality and racism during the playing of the national anthem in 2016. Additional NFL players followed his form of protest, leading to widespread criticism and ratings losses for the NFL.
Kaepernick 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.”
Many have publicly voiced their criticisms against Nike and Kaepernick for the campaign, including ‘American Sniper’ widow Taya Kyle, Sen. Marco Rubio, veteran-owned company Nine Line Apparel and President Trump.
Before the protest controversy began in 2016, Kaepernick’s football performance was in decline. His 2015 performance yielded “one of the lowest quarterback ratings of his entire career.” His beginning 2016 performance was just as dismal, causing him to become benched. He hasn’t played a game since the 2016 season.
Aside from the poor performance and protests, Kaepernick took repeated shots at law enforcement through remarks and even appearing in a game wearing socks that depicted police as pigs.
Kaepernick filed a complaint with the league in late 2017, and accused team owners of colluding to prevent him from signing with a team, CBS Sports reported.
The complaint launched an investigation of nearly 100,000 documents from league and team employees, including coaches, managers and high-ranked league officials – all of whom were suspected to be involved in signing or working out any quarterback – to determine if any of them engaged in dialogue regarding Kaepernick.