Nike has featured controversial athlete Colin Kaepernick in its new marketing campaign commemorating the 30th anniversary of the brand’s “Just Do It” slogan.
This is the former quarterback’s first appearance on a Nike campaign since his departure from the NFL. Kaepernick has been on Nike’s endorsement roster since 2011.
The campaign features a black and white photograph of Kaepernick with a message: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick’s controversies started in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racism in the US. He is currently suing 32 NFL teams for alleged collusion to keep him out of the league.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Nike executive Gino Fisanotti told ESPN.
Other faces of the campaign include Serena Williams, LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr. and Lacey Baker.
In the 24 hours after the campaign was released, 100,000 Twitter posts containing the hashtag #BoycottNike appeared. However, an analysis by social media analytics company ListenFirst found there were “more support for Nike and Kaepernick than we see negative actions taken against them,” said the firm’s co-chief executive Jason Klein.