DON’T BOYCOTT NIKE, BUT THERE IS NO NEED TO DEFEND THEM, EITHER
Colin Kaepernick is back in the news.
For those who may have been living under a rock, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback kicked a hornet’s nest two years ago when he decided to sit — and then later kneel — for the National Anthem before games, so as to protest what he saw as unfair treatment of oppressed minorities in the United States.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Kaepernick said at the time.
Say what you will, but by doing what he did, Kaepernick certainly went against football orthodoxy.
Then he took it a step further.
Following the acquittal of the officer who fatally shot Philando Castille, Kaepernick took to Twitter to declare that the police in America were — in effect — modern day slave catchers.
I understand his frustration with the verdict in the case, but that statement is obviously ludicrous and was going to all but guarantee that teams who were already wary of signing him were going to permanently cross him off their list of potential QB candidates.
This is a much easier decision since Kaepernick is not a high level starter, and instead is a backup QB whose presence on the roster would not be worth the media circus he would bring with him.
And now Nike has entered the debate, sponsoring an ad campaign with Kaepernick as the poster child for supposedly sacrificing so much.
Before I touch on the Nike situation, I must say, heated rhetoric aside, my own thoughts on Kaepernick have never really changed.
If he wants to sit or kneel before games, that’s his right.
And though I would never personally do it myself, I don’t think the act inherently makes one disrespectful of the troops or anti-American.
If he chooses to voice his concerns in that manner, I have no problem with it.
What I do have a problem with, though, is the fact that Kaepernick was not exactly the best spokesman for his cause.
Go take a look at most of his quotes on the subject and you will see that while he was clearly very passionate about it, he spoke in very vague terms and sounded more like a riled up college student than somebody who had seriously studied the matter.
It doesn’t help that he made incredibly ignorant positive comments about Fidel Castro — a monstrous dictator — or that after all his talk, he admitted to not even bothering to vote in the 2016 election.
And that slave catcher comment is the cherry on top.
Ultimately, while Kaepernick may have been brave for going against the grain, he is also case in point for why nobody should pay any special attention to the political opinions of famous people.
Celebrities are just like everybody else in that some are smart and well-informed, but most are not. The only difference between celebrities and your crazy next door neighbor is that celebrities get a platform to espouse their opinions.
But that doesn’t mean their opinions are any more important or well-researched than that crazy next door neighbor’s.
All of the said, the idea of boycotting Nike or burning Nike products you already purchased is just silly.
If you are that upset, just donate your Nikes to a charity.
But also, let’s remember, many liberals did this with New Balance after the company’s CEO praised president Trump and those people were roundly mocked with good reason.
If you decide you do not want to buy a product anymore because of things like that, that is up to you.
But making a public spectacle out of it seems to be nothing more than grandstanding and public whining.
And the reverse can be said about people pledging to buy extra Nikes now.
Just cheap ploys for attention.
As for me, I am neither going to boycott nor lionize Nike, as they are just a company that sells shoes and clothes.
Instead, I am going to carry on with my normal everyday life and deal with more pressing matters than whether or not I like a shoe company.
I suggest you do the same.