As the NFL gears up for its season opener Thursday, the unresolved issue of player conduct during the national anthem took another turn: Apparel manufacturing giant Nike released an ad supporting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, along with an endorsement deal for him.
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who triggered a controversy in 2016 by kneeling during pre-game playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was joined by others in a protest of unfair police treatment of blacks. President Donald Trumpcriticized Kaepernick and others who refuse to stand during the anthem. Many fans agreed, some pledging to boycott NFL games and sponsors.
The latest Nike ad, which includes a black-and-while photo of Kaepernick, proclaims, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
NFL owners appeared to have reached a compromise on the issue earlier this year, allowing dissenting players to remain in the locker room during the anthem, requiring those on the field to stand. The policy is on hold, however, because of differences between the owners the the NFL Players Association.
After the Nike ad launched, many people took to social media to post their objections. Others spoke up in support. Some of the posts showed people burning or tearing up their Nike clothing or sneakers.