Sport

Nike unveils striking new Colin Kaepernick ad campaign

Nike unveils striking new Colin Kaepernick ad campaign

Kaepernick - who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013 where they lost to the Ravens - was the catalyst for the ongoing protests of NFL players kneeling during the pre-game playing of the National Anthem.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, Kaepernick has been working with Nike for quite some time with the company waiting for the right moment to drop the campaign.

Other athletes featured in the campaign include New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and multiple Grand Slam champion Serena Williams.

In August 2016, Kaepernick told Steve Wyche of NFL Media, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color".

Nike is the NFL's official uniform sponsor.

The new ad features the tagline "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything".

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Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the league in October, alleging an organized effort to keep him off a roster because of his protests during the national anthem in the 2016 season.

He continued his demonstration by kneeling during the anthem before subsequent contests, sparking a nationwide movement of athletes protesting in solidarity - which in turn drew the ire of President Donald Trump and a highly publicized counterprotest by Vice President Mike Pence.

But the league and union put that on hold after the Miami Dolphins faced backlash for classifying the protests as conduct potentially detrimental to the team - putting players at risk of fines or suspensions. An arbitrator ruled last week that Kaepernick's case will go to trial.

"Nike has always been and will continue to be my family's favorite shoe", wrote Twitter user @TheDionneMama.

News of Nike's ad campaign broke just days before the first game of the National Football League season on Thursday, when the controversy over pre-game protests could flare anew.


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