— Nike (@Nike) September 5, 2018
Nike released a celebration of the 30th year of their “Just Do It” campaign on Wednesday. The video was named “Dream Crazy” and it gives you goosebumps. The commercial aired at the first timeout of the third quarter on NBC’s broadcast of NFL Week 1 on Thursday.
Colin Kaepernick, who used to be the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, started the controversial movement of NFL players kneeling or locking arms during the national anthem. Their silent protests are to fight for the social injustices within our country, especially the oppression of people of color. Many have called his and other players’ actions unpatriotic. Kaepernick speaks during the ad and he says, “Believe in something, even when it means sacrificing everything,” as he turns away from the American flag. Nike has taken a clear stance on the importance of equality for all in America.
The ad features many inspiring athletes who come from backgrounds filled with difficult and unimaginable obstacles but proved that dreaming is valuable and leads to greatness. It has Serena Williams, who is currently competing for her 24th Grand Slam title. It has LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player of all time, who just moved to the Los Angeles Lakers and opened his “I Promise” school in Akron, Ohio for at-risk children to receive the educational opportunities they deserve. It has Alphonso Davies, a refugee from Ghana who played for the Canadian National Soccer Team at 16 years-old. It has Shaquill Griffin, a one-handed football player for the University of Central Florida and was drafted last year for the Seattle Seahawks. It has the 2015 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, one of the greatest ever in the game and fought for a pay increase in 2017. Among these are other athletes who fight each and every day to overcome emotional, mental, economic, and social challenges by aspiring for greatness through the physical art and platform of sports.
Trump responded to the release of the video by tweeting early Friday morning, “What was Nike thinking?” and then saying later at a speech in Montana, “I don’t think it’s appropriate what they did.” Responses have been mixed from the rest of America, with some posting pictures of burning their Nike shoes, while others vow that they are never supporting the brand or watching the NFL again. Many other celebrities and athletes have responded to the ad on social media, including Kevin Durant, Serena Williams, LeBron James, T.I., Trey Songz, 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign, Chris Brown – just to name a few. Tiger Woods called it “powerful” and “beautiful.”
Personally, I think this is just what this country needs. It is the responsibility of athletes who are in the media for their successes on the field, on the court, on the track, or in the pool, to stand up for what they believe in. Nike has a voice and a brand that people adore; they have the power to open people’s minds to be more accepting of one another. This ad and this moment in American sports history will be remembered forever as a time when the question of equality of athletes and people, regardless of race, gender, ability, ethnicity, and religion, comes to a crossroads.
Featured Image via Creative Commons CC0.