OPINION: Anthem protests, let’s get this straight


Photo credit/ Keith Allison

Some members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem. Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license.

Vanessa Rodriguez

On Sept. 7, Nike released its newest ad campaign for “Just Do It,” featuring Colin Kaepernick. This ad was needed and became a tool of dialogue among people everywhere.

However, there are many who felt so offended by this ad that they boycotted Nike and even burned Nike products.

Why? Let’s go on a journey together.

Back in August 2016, Kaepernick made headlines for sitting down during the National Anthem. Outraged, patriotic fans everywhere demanded punishment and answers to explain his actions. A few days later, Kaepernick made a comment.

“I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change,” Kaepernick said. “When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

From then on, Kaepernick gained a following ranging from professional athletes to veterans. Fast forward to today, the issues Kaepernick stood up for (no pun intended) are just as important and relevant.

The burning and boycotting of Nike products was a viral result via social media of Kaepernick’s appearance in Nike’s new “Just Do it” campaign ad.

Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 1.14.16 PM.png Screen Shot 2018-09-15 at 1.15.02 PM.png

This controversial ad also featured the statement “Believe in something, even if that means sacrificing everything.” Although kneeling isn’t a life-altering action, it could carry consequences — in Kaepernick’s case, becoming jobless. Regardless, he did it.

Nike released their new ad for "Just Do It" featuring Colin Kaepernick earlier this month. Photo courtesy of Colin Kaepernick's Twitter account

But why does this offend us? Why are we livid that a well-known football player is finally using his TV time to speak on one of the most controversial issues of our time? Why are we upset by acknowledging injustice?

If anything, the actions of others like these that stir up social change should intrigue us to understand WHY this is happening and WHAT they’re trying to say.

Why are football players kneeling during the anthem? It’s certainly not because they’re unpatriotic or hate the military. It’s a peaceful protest — not a protest of the nation’s anthem, or the people who died for this nation, but a protest and a stand for people who often lack a voice.

Do you see these players completely disregarding what the flag means to them? Do you see them burning the flag and intentionally carrying on their conversations during the anthem? No. You see individuals using their position of privilege to send a message — a message of change. That message says “Hey, we know the society needs to change. But by doing what we are doing, we are acknowledging these issues outside the game and doing something about it.”

So why are we so terribly outraged by this? Doing something out of the norm to address a huge problem within our country is absolutely genius. We should be proud of someone for not only debunking the stereotype of a lavish football player persona, but standing up for injustice and being moved by the nation’s oppressed cries.

As for Nike, the actions of their consumers were probably expected. They’re a multi-billion dollar company that knew exactly what they were doing. Whatever the outcome, I honestly believe Nike didn’t lose sleep over it whatsoever.

Instead of being angry at Nike for featuring a true AMERICAN, we should be angry at Americans for treating other Americans as if they are not equals. Where do your priorities lie?

Contact the writer: [email protected]