With an intention to drive change, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a significant movement and debate that’s raged for more than a year. Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem is one that’s influenced other athletes and angered some.
Kaepernick has been clear his intention was to spearhead social change, but the act was one deemed disrespectful to the country. Kaepernick has been supported by other high-profile athletes, including Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Although retired at the time, Bryant said he would have joined Kaepernick in protest had he still be active in the league. To this point, that’s primarily been limited to NFL athletes.
The NBA has long had a rule in place prohibiting players from not standing during the anthem. With that, the likes of LeBron James and others have attempted to drive the discussion by a different means.
Now, James and Kaepernick are among the athletes selected for Nike’s “Just Do It” 30th anniversary marketing campaign, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell:
Other athletes in the “Just Do It” campaign include Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker, Serena Williams and LeBron James.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
It’s unclear which direction Nike may go in with potential product releases. James and Williams represent two of the brand’s most recognizable athletes. James is signed to a lifetime contract, and Nike recently had a terse response to the French Open banning Williams’ catsuit.
James and New York Giants receive Odell Beckham Jr. touched on social issues they’ve encountered and how they’ve handled those situations during the premiere episode of “The Shop” on HBO. Moreover, James said he made a conscious decision years ago to begin speaking out, even if it meant receiving endless backlash.