With the blessing of a veteran, Kaepernick knelt

Originally published on November 5, 2018

Originally published on The Banner Student newspaper (Marymount University)

And printed on the paper newspaper.

Photos: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Retrieved from Nike

Nike took a stand with Colin Kaepernick and this made many of their customers angry.

A few weeks ago, Nike released an ad that sent the social media world on a spin of memes and angry tweets. People burned their Nike products and cut the logo off their socks. Left and right there were so many strong reactions against and for the Nike ad.

The ad had many athletes but in particular, Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was the main face of the ad. Kaepernick is very skilled but his wrist motion isn’t the only thing people were talking about.

In 2016 he was in a fellow teammate’s Instagram picture and people immediately noticed that Kaepernick was not standing for the national anthem. He was sitting. “How can he not stand for America?” people would say. This erupted a conversation as people began to wonder why a quarterback was not standing for the National Anthem.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media during an interview.

Many people took offense to this. To them, by not standing, he was disrespecting the veterans that fought for America, despite the fact that the iconic kneeling by Kaepernick was an idea given to him by veteran Ex-Green Beret Nate Boyer.

He understood and respected Colin Kaepernick. Boyer told Kaepernick to kneel so he can still be with his teammates and that it was seen as more respectful. With the blessing of a veteran, Kaepernick knelt for the first time on Sept. 2, 2016, as Boyer stood right beside him.

“I was showing that I support his right to do that, I support the message behind what he’s demonstrating for,” Boyer said. “But I’m also standing with pride because I feel differently in a lot of ways too. But there’s nothing wrong with feeling differently and believing different things. We can still work together to make this place better” (LA Times, “The ex-Green Beret who inspired Colin Kaepernick to kneel instead of sit during the anthem would like to clear a few things up”).

Kaepernick is a great player that many teams, including the 49ers, can benefit from. He has been a free agent since 2016 and hasn’t been picked up since. Teams would rather lose than have a quarterback with such controversy.

Nike, who has been paying Kaepernick for years now, decided to release an ad with Kaepernick as the face of the brand. With the quote, “Believe in something even if it means losing everything,” Nike took a stand with Colin Kaepernick and this made many of their customers angry.

Claiming Nike doesn’t stand with the veterans and/or America, angry customers took it out on the brand, backing out of the stocks and burning their items.

One Marymount student, who wished to remain anonymous didn’t fully support the ad.

“A shoe company shouldn’t be political and coming from a third world country, I feel that we should stand for the rights that we do have here in America, they’re more than we had back home.”

Two students, including Luis Ochoa and Dalila Argueta, voiced their support for the ad and stand by Kaepernick, “I couldn’t believe people are acting like this,” and were flabbergasted at the reaction of others on the ad.

Maize Trejo took a more understanding approach. “This ad was good in that it’s going against the current administration but it’s also not good because it’s disrespecting the national anthem,” she said.

To some students, this was closer to home.

“I was a little taken back,” Brooke Elise said. “I was surprised that a large corporation like Nike would sponsor Kaepernick when they sponsor the NFL who clearly has an issue with [Kaepernick’s] views. I was happy [and] jumping for joy,” she said. “I went straight to Twitter to find out more info. Like the millennial I am.”

On Twitter, Elise saw the reactions of others and wasn’t surprised.

“Burning Nike shoes isn’t hurting anyone but the person who bought them,” she said. “When it comes to the stores who have refused to allow employees to work if they wear Nike and will make them return home to change is the craziest, most ignorant & petty thing someone could do. What happened to freedom of speech? Just throw the entire Bill of Rights out the window!”

This issue enraged many, but also empowered many. It gives a hint of hope to students that standby Kaepernick. People are kneeling; the movement is still here. Whether you stand with Kaepernick or not, whether you support the ad or not, you can’t deny the movement that he empowered.

You can not deny the Muhammed Ali in Colin Kaepernick. Both fought for justice and both lost everything. You can’t deny the evidence of the injustice in this country. This was never about the veterans; the veterans didn’t fight for us to stand; rather, fought for us to choose to stand or to sit.

That is the beauty of the United States of America. All these opinions of Marymount were different, but all valid. Does freedom of speech only count if we like what we’re hearing? Does freedom of protest only count when we like the method? When we like the brand? When we like the movement? What will we think when others have an opinion different from our own?

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