By now I’m pretty sure that we all know about Colin Kapernick and the stance, or knee, he decided to take to bring awareness to police brutality issues. Many people have their own views on this topic, some say it doesn’t exist and others know about the issue all too well. Regardless of what you believe, you have to admit that what Colin Kapernick and other athletes did was extremely bold. It takes courage to speak on social issues. It takes courage to go against the grain of what’s deemed normal or what is overlooked. Nike also has made a bold statement and lived up to their slogan, JUST DO IT.
Nike is one of the most profitable brands ever. It has become synonymous with sports and lifestyle. It shows why they are a multi billion-dollar company. It’s hard to go about a day and not see signs or indications of the company’s mass appeal. Nike has also made its presence felt by purchasing smaller and also visible companies such as, Converse, Cole Haan, Hurley and other brands. Another thing that has set Nike apart from other brands is that they have never shied away from controversy. They haven’t been scared to against the norm. A simple case of that is when they signed this basketball player by the name of Michael Jordan.
When Nike first introduced the Air Jordan 1 bred (black and red) color way it went against the NBA’s uniform rule. That rule would lead to the NBA fining MJ every time he wore the shoe on the court, but Nike had a bigger vision for what this shoe and MJ could do for their company, so they went against the norm. It has been said that Nike even paid the fines for MJ. Their boldness and pushing the envelope of what was acceptable, paid off big time! Now Michael Jordan’s brand is bigger than ever. Air Jordan is the official sponsor of numerous athletic teams, both professional and amateur. The brand is still one of the hottest brands even though Michael Jordan retired from the game of basketball in 2003.
Nike’s growth could be a direct correlation to their boldness, especially when it comes to social issues. Where most brands stay clear of controversy, Nike jumps in headfirst and it also provides their athletes a larger platform to do the same. Leading the way for them is Lebron James. Bron over the years has been very vocal about issues that affect our communities. Not only does he use his words, he puts action behind those words to make a change. Bron’s latest deed is opening up a public school in the city of Akron, OH. Lebron’s I Promise School, goes above and beyond the call of duty. The kids receive free uniforms, free transportation, free breakfast, lunch and snacks, a free bike, and guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for every student who graduates. There is also a GED and job placement service for parents. If that’s not thinking ahead and putting your money where your mouth is, then I don’t know what is.
Women have also been used in Nike’s marketing. Pushing for the non-policing of women’s bodies and an even playing field. The words used in a Nike ad recently starring Serena Williams said “there’s no wrong way to be a woman’. Nike even made a hijab for women of Islamic faith so they could compete more comfortably.
Recently Nike has made Colin Kapernick, the face of their “Just Do It”, campaign. That announcement was met with a threat of boycott, “Just burn it”, by those who took offense to Kapernick’s gesture of kneeling during the national anthem. So if the boycotters boycott Nike, do they boycott the NFL as well? Nike sponsors the NFL. Do they boycott the NBA? Nike sponsors the NBA. Do they boycott their favorite college teams? A lot our sponsored by Nike. Some of your favorite athletes and entertainers are Nike sponsored, are they getting boycotted as well? Whatever you decide to do Nike said it best, “Just Do it”, “Even if it means sacrificing everything”, but don’t forget what the boycott was actually about.