PITTSBURGH (KDKA/CNN) – Nike’s endorsement of Colin Kaepernick has drawn both praise and criticism.
Earlier this week, it was announced that Kaepernick will be one of the faces of Nike’s 30th anniversary commemoration of its iconic “Just Do It” slogan. The campaign will also feature athletes such as Serena Williams, NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and Shaquem Griffin, a rookie linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks whose left hand was amputated when he was a child.
Kaepernick tweeted out a photo from the campaign on Monday. Over a black-and-white picture of his face, a caption reads, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
The former San Francisco 49er has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the National Anthem to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans and other racial injustices. Dozens of other players began joining Kaepernick, and he has become a symbol of the dividing lines over race in America.
Nike’s decision has been heavily criticized by some customers who posted videos to social media of them burning and cutting up their Nike attire.
President Donald Trump and his allies have repeatedly seized on the issue. At a rally in Alabama last year, Trump said team owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field” if a player knelt in protest of injustice during the anthem. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game after some players knelt.
Now, Donald Trump Jr. has released his own version of the photo, which replaces Kaepernick’s face with that of the president.
While Nike has received a lot of criticism, others have come out in support.
After seeing Nike’s announcement that names Kaepernick the face of the “Just Do It” campaign, venture capitalist Arlan Hamilton bought a pair of Nike shoes.
Hamilton said she did so to show support for Kaepernick and fellow Nike ambassador Serena Williams.
(TM and © Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CNN contributed to this report.)