On Labor Day, Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick was the company’s new face of its “Just Do It” campaign, which prompted a great deal of both praise and criticism on Twitter. But according to some critics, the move was meant as nothing but a way to monetize the “woke Social Justice Warrior” crowd.
After countless Hollywood stars and athletes celebrated the ad, some political commentators noticed that the left failed to bring up Nike’s opportunism. After all, as Jim Geraghty from National Review points out, the massive publicly traded corporation has been under scrutiny for years for pay discrimination, failure to address sexual harassment complaints, and even exploitation of laborers in far away lands where the Kaepernick apparel is now being produced.
It’s almost as if the mass that came out to congratulate Nike for helping Kaepernick protest police brutality chose to turn a blind eye to those small details, and all because the former San Francisco 49ers player is finally out of the unemployment list.
With Nike being the top NFL sponsor and a donor to both political parties, it’s obvious that hiring Kaepernick had nothing to do with ideology. Instead, the firm saw an opportunity to score big thanks to the growing movement to celebrate companies for their virtue-signaling.
While there’s an argument to make in favor of this type of exploitation, as companies trying to stay relevant are always going to tap into what’s culturally appropriate for every new season, the left is usually the first to complain about this very approach whenever a particular brand stands for an opposing political view. In this case, the condemnation didn’t materialize.
As Geraghty explains, Nike has an entire strategy in mind for the Kaepernick ad, and it’s clearly working.
“The aim is to get every Kaepernick-hater in the country publicly raging about it — the president, conservative-talk radio, sports-talk radio — so that everyone who agrees with Kaepernick feels almost obligated to go out and buy the Kaepernick sneakers, shirt, hat, etcetera,” he wrote.
But if “duping” the left wasn’t enough, Nike is also going to donate money to Kaepernick’s “Know Your Rights” campaign, which tells folks that we all have rights to “being healthy” and “being safe.” Further cementing its position as the most #woke company out there.
In the end, you gotta give it to Kaepernick. It’s almost as if the Fidel Castro supporter knew how to make America cozy up to the idea of a corporation helping him spread the word on the wonders of an overly powerful state dying to squash our personal freedoms in the name of the common good.