Nike announced that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be the new face of its “Just Do It” campaign.
The slogan for the campaign is, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick’s announcement of the campaign instantly went viral Monday after his announcement.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
The promotion of the former athlete, who protested racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem before the NFL games he participated in, has led to major backlash against the sports company. A boycott was started and people began posting videos of themselves burning their Nike gear. Nike stock took a heavy hit for the controversial decision Tuesday morning.
The most scathing critique of the new ad campaign, however, came from the widow of American Sniper Chris Kyle, Taya Kyle. Chris Kyle served as a Navy SEAL sniper during multiple tours in Iraq and was awarded a Silver Star and four Bronze Star Medals. Kyle was tragically killed by a mentally ill man he was mentoring in 2013.
Taya Kyle now raises their two children in Texas and runs a foundation in her husband’s name.
Kyle took to Facebook to level a brutal critique of Nike and their decision to promote a player who has regularly disrespected the American flag. “Sacrificing what exactly? A career?” Kyle asks in her viral post, “At best, that is all Colin sacrificed … some money, and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it.”
“How about other warriors? Warriors who will not be on magazine covers, who will not get lucrative contracts and millions of followers from their actions and who have truly sacrificed everything,” Kyle asked. “They did it because they believed in something. Take it from me, when I say they sacrificed everything, they also sacrificed the lives of their loved ones who will never be the same. THAT is sacrificing everything for something they believe in.”
Read Kyle’s full message to Nike and Kaepernick below:
Nike, I love your gear, but you exhaust my spirit on this one. Your new ad with Colin Kapernick, I get the message, but that sacrificing everything thing…. It just doesn’t play out here. Sacrificing what exactly? A career? I’ve done that both times I chose to stay home and be with my kids instead of continuing my business climb… and it wasn’t sacrificing everything. It was sacrificing one career and some money and it was because of what I believe in and more importantly, who I believe in.
At best, that is all Colin sacrificed… some money and it’s debatable if he really lost his career over it. Maybe he sacrificed the respect of some people while he gained the respect of others. Or maybe he used one career to springboard himself into a different career when the first was waning. I don’t know. What I do know is, he gained popularity and magazine covers he likely wouldn’t have gotten without getting on his knees or as you say, “believing in something.” I’m also thinking the irony is that while I am not privy to the numbers, it’s likely he gained a lucrative Nike contract. So yeah… that whole “sacrificing everything” is insulting to those who really have sacrificed everything.
You want to talk about someone in the NFL sacrificing everything? Pat Tillman. NFL STARTING, not benched, player who left to join the Army and died for it. THAT is sacrificing everything for something you believe in.
How about other warriors? Warriors who will not be on magazine covers, who will not get lucrative contracts and millions of followers from their actions and who have truly sacrificed everything. They did it because they believed in something. Take it from me, when I say they sacrificed everything, they also sacrificed the lives of their loved ones who will never be the same. THAT is sacrificing everything for something they believe in.
Did you get us talking? Yeah, you did. But, your brand recognition was strong enough. Did you teach the next generation of consumers about true grit? Not that I can see.
Taking a stand, or rather a knee, against the flag which has covered the caskets of so many who actually did sacrifice everything for something they believe in, that we all believe in? Well, the irony of your ad..it almost leaves me speechless. Were you trying to be insulting?
Maybe you are banking on the fact we won’t take the time to see your lack of judgement in using words that just don’t fit. Maybe you are also banking on us not seeing Nike as kneeling before the flag. Or maybe you want us to see you exactly that way. I don’t know. All I know is, I was actually in the market for some new kicks and at least for now, I’ve never been more grateful for Under Armour.