It looks like Colin Kaepernick is back – sort of. Though he hasn’t played in a league game since the 2016 season, he tweeted his new Nike ad Monday, September 3, 2018: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.”
For those who don’t recall, just as the football star seemed to begin his descent, the anthem kneeling kerfuffle conveniently launched him once more skyward, embedding his head firmly in the clouds of Black Lives Matter activism. Nike has kept him on their endorsement roster since initially signing him back in 2011. The company hasn’t used him these last couple years while he has been off the field, but apparently that’s only because they were waiting for just the right moment: the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It.”
By Wednesday the fifth, President Trump was criticizing the company for featuring Kaepernick:
Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
While there has been some very theatrical boycotting of Nike – namely, people posting images and videos documenting the destruction of their already-paid-for gear – it has thus far been more or less contained to social media outrage. The company did take a slight hit to stock value, dropping from $82.18 a share on Friday to $79.01 Tuesday, but it has held more or less stable since.
Quite a few more are going to have to step up and boycott Nike – and all the other brands they own – if the movement hopes to make any headway against the progressives sure to Just Do It now that the company has made such a clear political statement.
As the footballer and his fans have said, it’s his First Amendment right to react to the National Anthem as he pleases – even if that means kneeling in protest. Of course, the First Amendment only explicitly protects such behavior from the U.S. Congress – and as it has often been interpreted – implicitly from all levels of government in general. The NFL is not Congress, nor any other government agency. Companies are free to impose behavioral codes of conduct far beyond what the Constitution allows lawmakers to impose upon society.
While the First Amendment does protect each individual’s right to be an ass, corporate policy typically does not. Nor do either protect the individual from the natural consequences that may follow – such as the boycotts, protests, and general enmity of those who take offense. As so many progressives seem to be, Kaepernick appeared oblivious to the fact that every right comes with the responsibility to use it wisely and the liability for the consequences should one choose otherwise.
Of course, Kaepernick’s dedication to his chosen cause should lose some credibility after he waffled back and forth from the police being racist to Trump being racist as his cause. Then again, the left never was big on being consistent. Besides, it’s highly unlikely that Nike made this move without weighing the backlash they knew would come against their expected gains.
While the brand seems likely to come out on top, it is possible that enough folk will vote for their anthem and president with their dollars to put the hurt on Nike. Insanity, you might ask? As the ad says, “It’s only crazy until you do it. Just do it.”