Don’t Sacrifice Everything

Nike is a respectable company with overall good intentions, but their decision to use Kaepernick as a marketing tactic is troubling.

Since their endorsement of Colin Kaepernick, Nike has experienced a spike in their stock price. Maybe they think that Kaepernick did the right thing, and they actually care about his message. But this is capitalist America. You do not do something that does not make you money. And in this case, Nike has sliced America right down the middle with yet another divisive issue. They could not care less about what you think their morals are. All they want is your money, and they are willing to capitalize on divisive issues to get it. Righteous? I think not.

Nike is an enormous company, and it put huge amounts of forethought into this decision. They knew they would make money off of this even before they did it. They know that you, as a consumer, are statistically more likely to buy from a company that you view as ethical. People are being exploited by Nike because they think Nike actually cares about this social issue.

While it has proven to be an excellent short-term strategy for Nike, it comes at the expense of limiting their appeal to conservative consumers in the long term. From anything political comes protest and boycott, and it is easy for a company to alienate a large number of their customers by endorsing one side of a hotly debated issue.

While Kaepernick has stated that he meant no disrespect, his actions still carried an inconsiderate message. There is no law that prevents Kaepernick from doing this, and it is his right, guaranteed by the First Amendment’s assurance of freedom of speech, to protest what he views as injustices. However, he and Nike need to realize that standing for the anthem is to honor those who willingly made great sacrifices to uphold and protect freedom on Earth, and that sitting or kneeling is viewed by many, including myself, as disrespectful towards those who serve or have served the United States.

It is not that I do not like Kaepernick or Nike. Kaepernick regularly donates to inner city charities and foundations, and it is clear that he means well. It is the fact that he is kneeling and being supported by Nike for it that is frustrating. If you want to protest something, please leave the anthem and the American flag out of it. The anthem is meant to recognize what unites us as a nation, not what divides us, and by supporting Kaepernick, Nike is making money by damaging one of the last uniting constants in such a divided country.

The U.S. Code states, “During a rendition of the national anthem… all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.” (36 U.S.C. § 301). But I do not stand because of the flag code, nor should you. You should stand because you are an American.

We stand because we support the police, who serve our communities with honor and distinction, knowing that each day could be their last. We stand because we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We stand with the families of those in service. We stand with the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and the Coast Guard. We stand because we all share love for our country.