— 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 from the preeminent sports gear company aired during NFL broadcasts 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. “Believe in something, even when it means sacrificing everything,” Kaepernick says in the video 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, one of the greatest athletes in the world, who is currently competing for her 24th Grand Slam title. LeBron James, arguably the best basketball player of all time, is pictured. The clip shows the opening of his “I Promise” school in Akron, Ohio for education opportunities for at-risk children. Alphonso Davies, a refugee from Ghana who played for the Canadian National Soccer Team at 16 years-old, is also in it. Shaquill Griffin, a one-handed football player who was drafted last year for the Seattle Seahawks, makes incredible plays in the video. Additionally, the 2015 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team is featured, one of the greatest ever and fought pay equality. Among these are other athletes who strive 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?” He said later at a speech in Montana, “I don’t think it’s appropriate what they did.” The rest of America has had mixed responses. Some posted pictures burning their Nike shoes, while others vow against supporting the brand or watching the NFL. Many other celebrities and athletes have responded to the ad on social media: Chris Brown, Kevin Durant, Serena Williams, LeBron James, T.I., Trey Songz, 2 Chainz, Ty Dolla $ign – 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 in the media for their successes 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.