Recently, Nike revealed a new campaign starring Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick's picture is a black and white profile of his face with the superimposed words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
Kaepernick became a national figure in 2016 after kneeling while the U.S. national anthem played prior to NFL games in protest to what he saw as racial injustices against black Americans. His actions prompted both positive and negative reactions from the public. Some started boycotting the NFL, while others praised Kaepernick for standing (or kneeling really) for what he believed in.
The people against Kaepernick’s actions say that kneeling during the national anthem is a sign of disrespect toward our country and the people that fight to keep it free. Kaepernick has repeatedly stated that he has a great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country. In fact, it was an Army vet who suggested to Kaepernick that he kneel instead of sit during the anthem, to show more respect for what the flag and anthem stand for.
Now, Nike is receiving backlash and criticism for featuring Kaepernick. Hundreds of people have taken pictures of themselves ripping, cutting or burning their Nike gear. They swear they’ll never buy Nike again and refuse to have any of the brand in their home.
Before you destroy your $80 pair of running shoes and purge your closet, I want you to take a moment to think. Yes, you’re making a statement of sorts by destroying it but you already bought the items so Nike has already gotten your money. By burning, cutting or throwing away your Nike gear, it honestly just looks like a temper tantrum instead of a protest. If you really want to protest Nike, then boycott the brand and don’t buy anything else they make. Donate your merchandise to a homeless shelter or someone in need. I’m sure there are a few homeless vets who would gladly take your hoodie or a new pair of shoes.
I’m not saying I support Kaepernick or Nike’s decisions to feature him. In America, we have the right to our opinions and the choice to peacefully protest things things we feel strongly about. But just because we have the right to do something, doesn't mean we should and I believe there are better ways for people to protest that don’t involve destroying things people in need would gladly use.
Sheri Kotzum is a reporter for The Destin Log. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-4353.