I purchased my first pair of Nike shoes while a college freshman in the mid 80’s. They were pink leather with a rounded toe and the logo was a perforated swoosh. I was never a huge fan of pink but for some reason my 18 year old mind thought they looked cool. I was majoring in Architecture at the time and looking unique was part of the expectation among my fellow classmates. I don’t remember what I did with them but there are good memories associated with those sneakers.
During the mid 90’s much came out about Nike and child labor in China. In addition the cost to make the shoes compared to the huge markup to the sales price. During this same time Air Jordan’s were being physically stolen from people’s feet. Nike PR people I give them a hand made the news of working conditions in China disappear.
For a little while I got caught up in the Reebok phase. The high top with double straps. I had them in white and then black. I never really wore them for aerobics but mostly during my commute to work and the walk from my train to office building.
Over time the protests calmed down surrounding Nike’s manufacturing practices. And I was back wearing one of my favorite brands of sneakers. Quite simply Nike’s fit my feet well. They are ground breaking with regard to their comfort & cushioning.
Now during the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign they are endorsing Colin Kaepernick most notably the former NFL quarterback known for his protest during the singing of the National Anthem prior to NFL football games. Specifically his protests were to bring a spotlight and discussion to the killing of unarmed African Americans by law enforcement. Whether you agree or not with how the protest was done the reason for the protests was and still is valid.
Because of his choosing to initially sit and then kneel during the National Anthem he was released by the San Francisco 49ers. Because of his sacrifice of his very lucrative livelihood for an issue he believed needed public attention, Nike chose him as the face of the “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign. And prior to releasing this to the pubic Nike was paying Kaepernick.
Upon the release of Air Jordan’s there are lines circling stores. Oftentimes other expenses are ignored or credit cards maxed out to purchase the latest Jordan’s. And the people who usually buy them upon initial release are often African American and Latino. Therefore what Nike is doing though insightful is speaking to a group that helps keep them at the top with regard to sales.
My belief is in the effort to celebrate just doing it Nike should just do more than put the face of a football player on the campaign. They may have this coming in the future but parents and people who work hard every day to make ends meet should be highlighted as well. Let’s celebrate the average person who gives back within their community. I look forward to seeing how this anniversary campaign develops over the next year. Finally to those who are destroying their Nikes, I ask why? Where was this disgrace when unarmed African American men and women were and still are being killed for being Black? I am waiting for your answer….
Let me know what you think about the Nike 30th Anniversary Campaign highlighting Colin Kaepernick? Just do it with a comment below.