No More Nike

Peyton Hainline, Sports Editor

In 2016 sports leagues and programs around the nation were turned upside when NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, decided that instead of standing up for what he believed in, he was going to kneel down.

Kaepernick aimed to call attention to the police brutality and racial injustice happening around the country by starting a silent yet unmistakable protest in which he would take a knee during the National Anthem. This simple gesture ignited a fire a controversy across the nation.

Although it is legal, kneeling for the National Anthem is a counterproductive form of protest that resulted in more issues.

For Kaepernick, his decision came with a high price. A large number of Americans disapproved of his actions, and despite his talents, Kaepernick found himself out of a job as a quarterback.

Almost two year later, Kaepernick’s name and face are once again flooding the internet. During the NFL season opener on September 6th, Nike aired an advertisement narrated by Colin Kaepernick.

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” Kaepernick states in the ad.

These words largely represent the movement that Kaepernick started and the effects that it has had.

Shortly after announcing the ad, Nike took a hard hit. Not only did the company’s stock prices dip, but people were also inspired to destroy their Nike products.

Even President Donald Trump has voiced his opinions on the matter in a tweet where he writes that “Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts” and that he “finds it (the NFL) hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the flag.”

After all the controversy and backlash that both Kaepernick and Nike have faced, the underlying question that needs to be answered persists; ‘Is it appropriate to refuse to stand for the National Anthem in order to bring attention to important issues?’

It was both bold and courageous for Kaepernick to do what he did, but in the grand scheme of thing, kneeling for the National Anthem does more harm than good.

In Kaepernick’s defense, the U.S. is built on the foundation that all people are guaranteed freedom of speech. Kaepernick simply used football as a platform in order to highlight a larger issue at hand and ensure his beliefs were heard.

However, the action of kneeling during the national anthem ended up being a counterproductive way to promote  his cause. Kaepernick hoped that his silent protest would raise awareness for social and racial division that exists in America, but his efforts to accomplish this were buried by the new question that came to light: ‘is refusing to stand for the national anthem an appropriate form of protest?’ It seemed that many people’s attention was focused more on the idea of kneeling for the National Anthem rather than the matter of injustice.

Also, the more obvious argument against Kaepernick’s form of protest is the disrespect it shows for our country and the people that have fought for our country. The National Anthem is a form of honor to the veterans that have risked their lives to protect our freedom, therefore, it is a contradicting message to sit down and disrespect the flag that gives people the liberty to stand up and speak out.