Students weigh in on Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ‘Just Do It’ advertisement



On the 30th anniversary of Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” advertisement, Nike chose former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to promote the brand in a widely talked-about and controversial advertisement.

Kaepernick famously knelt during the national anthem at an NFL game on Sept.1, 2016. After the game, the football player cited police injustices, specifically with regard to minorities, as his reason for taking the knee.

Kaepernick made it clear that he would continue kneeling on the field during the national anthem due to the social issues he raised, until he saw significant change in the country on these issues. Kaepernick’s contract with the 49ers expired after the 2016 football season, and he has not been signed to another NFL team since.

During the 2017 NFL season, President Donald Trump condemned NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, stating that, by doing so, they disrespected the country and the flag.

Kaepernick is currently suing the NFL for allegedly colluding against him — claiming that NFL owners came together and all decided against keeping the quarterback in the league. Kaepernick became a social and political figure at this point, and, in the midst of all this, Nike decided to go with Kaepernick to promote their brand.

Several WSU students weighed in on what they thought of Nike’ new “Just Do It” advertisement.

Harrison Hill, a sophomore studying exercise science and sports management, sees Nike choosing Kaepernick to promote their brand as “siding with Kaepernick’s movement against social injustice and inequality.” He also stated that he feels like one of the reasons why Nike chose Kaepernick is simply for the sake of “putting their name out there” and grabbing national attention.

Hill said that he is not necessarily the “biggest supporter” of Kaepernick, but he respects Kaepernick’s right to protest, and “what he stands for.” Hill asserted that he views the Nike brand as “cool.” He said to “be a true supporter of Kaepernick, they (Nike) need to make their brand in Kaepenick’s vision of the world.” Overall, he stated that he will buy whatever athletic brand is the most affordable and stylish.

Bishop Rice, a freshman studying art education, said she liked the “overall look” of the advertisement, and viewed it as “inspirational.” Rice stated that she would “only buy the line” if she “liked the design,” but her decision of whether she would buy the “Just Do It” apparel would not be due to the person associated with the line. Rice said the advertisement does not at all affect whether she’ll buy or not buy the Nike apparel.

Drue Ashton, a freshman studying history, said he is not a frequent Nike customer. He said he has never “personally been mesmerized” by the Nike brand like some other people, and typically buys other athletic brands. However, he claimed that the Kaepernick advertisement “does really affect” the way he perceives the brand.

“I don’t think Nike would be my first choice,” Ashton said, stating that other athletic brands are typically more affordable anyways. As a former employee of a sports and outdoors store, Ashton relayed that he had seen customers “for and against the (Kaepernick) brand.” He stated that typically there was “an overwhelming no for Nike” among many of the customer he came across, but also other customers who were “proudly repping” the Nike brand after the Kaeperick advertisement.

When asked about the advertisement, Bryton Steveson, a veteran and sophomore studying wildlife biology, admitted that he doesn’t keep up with football, but has no problem with what Kaepernick is doing.

Steveson said he is not a Nike customer, however, as long as Kaepernick stays away from anything along the lines of defamation of the flag, he “doesn’t care.”

Wichita State has had a contract with Under Armour for the university’s athletics since 2017.