Nike, Trump & the anti-Kaepernick crowd awash in hypocrisy

Marc Elliott

Colin Kaepernick puts it on the  line in new campaign
Colin Kaepernick puts it on the line in new campaign

HERMANTOWN… It has been a quite a long time since I’ve consciously purchased anything with the Nike swoosh on it. I have long recognized them for the phonies they are. When it was revealed years back that the people that make all their products over in Asian countries were paid next to nothing for their hard work, that the company set up shop there so they could avert environmental responsibilities to the planet amongst other breaches of fair and positive corporate behaviors and loyalties, that was it for me. I am certain that I am but one person of about a 75 man/woman protest, but I am taking a stand nonetheless. Sure, I’m keenly aware that most of the major shoe companies act just like Nike, they just aren’t as prominent or seemingly as wrapped in the American flag as is this corporate behemoth. And it’s not to say that I possess nothing with the swoosh on it, but if I do it’s likely that it was a gift, and it’s a shirt, hoodie or jacket from an event or team that they were a sponsor of. Moreover, they are headquartered here, make nothing here, don’t contribute that much to the tax base and I’m guessing that the retail price of a pair of their highly overpriced shoes wouldn’t cost that much more if they were made here in the USA rather than in a foreign land. (with all due respect to foreigners)  

As you are most likely aware of by now, Nike and the original National anthem protester Colin Kaepernick joined forces recently and the first rollout of Kaepernick as a Nike Spokesperson occurred last week. It occurred on none other then the night of the National Football League regular season opener last Thursday. During the game Nike aired a 2 minute 21 second ad featuring the face of Kaepernick. I did not watch the game or see the ad. I can’t comment on it directly. What I do know is that apparently, at the end of the spot, the slogan “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything” appeared. And that most assuredly can apply to Kaepernick who has made his stand at the cost of his NFL job. He sits on the sidelines still, a victim of NFL collusion to keep him out of a professional uniform, even if he would be somewhere in the 30-45 rank as an NFL QB. I believe he could still play and still help a team, even if it were as that clubs’ number two QB. I have spoken to this before. 

When it was announced that these two parties were aligning with one another, the Donald Trump base predictably went nuts, as did many from both the right and the left who are against the kneeling during the anthem as a means of civil disobedience. I purposely only wrote about this phenom a handful of times. For me, it’s not that I’m not into it in a deep way, I think it’s mostly that so many others are writing about it. I do not have a problem with this as a means to draw attention to a cause. Is it disrespectful to the flag? Some feel that way, on the other hand, as an American, utilizing my 1st Amendment privilege is totally within my rights. Kaepernick’s original purpose was to protest against police brutality and inequality. I’m not a Trumpinista with my head buried in the sand at Mar-a-Lago, Trumps taxpayer fleecing weekend hideout. Whether they like it or not, there is police brutality taking place within our country, with a great deal of it aimed at people of color, and there is a massive inequality problem here. To deny that is to be ensconced in ignorance. 

So, many took to the streets last week to burn their Nike gear. That drew attention to their cause, so be it. They made their statement, no one was hurt. They got their 15 seconds and now what? Here’s what; today we still have police brutality and massive inequality in the United States. At the end of the day what was accomplished? Nike has long been branded as some socially aware rebels that go where others dare not go. Well, they have had a few strong messages before delving into touchy areas of society. What about Charles Barkley proclaiming that he was no role model? How about “Be like Mike”? I have been told that the Kaepernick spot made no mention of or stand against police brutality or inequality. Is that the behavior of a rebel? No, a rebel would have been in your face with a message that would have made you recoil and contemplate what it was saying. Their thinking must have been that of not wanting to irritate too many people and that you could connect the dots. I’ll be kind and surmise that maybe they only desired to provoke thought but not get in your face. Nike has gotten a lot of attention for being caustic anti’s without having to be exactly that. 

For Trump, he has long loathed the NFL, for it wouldn’t let him in their good ol’ boys club. As for what he thinks about America or the anthem, I think he could give a rat’s backside about either. Being POTUS is yet another role to play, it gives him the biggest stage a braggadocios narcissistic loudmouth could ever have, and his anthem stand whips up the lower IQ members of his base and allows him cover for his dog whistling racism. That’s right. It’s all about that a black man refused to stand up for the National anthem. Nothing more or less. If Donald really cared about this country, he would probably have some of his products made here huh? Hypocrite. In totality.

For the anti-Kaepernick swoosh burners? Were they upset that Nike had long taken advantage of slave labor in another land? That they were/are corporate polluters? That they make nothing here that would provide American manufacturing jobs? Did they take to the streets to protest that? No. That they had anything at all with a swoosh on it to burn tells me all I need to know about them. Hypocrites all. In fact, the only individual with any guts, integrity and a solid base to stand upon would be Kaepernick himself. He has made a huge sacrifice in the forfeiture of his career and its way better than average salaries. Nike still has a contract with the NFL that lasts for another ten years. They may be playing with a little fire, but it’s too early to tell. Trump? He has sacrificed nothing and hasn’t the courage or fortitude to ever take a stand ala Kaepernick. He’s much too shallow for that. I’m glad to see that Colin is back in the spotlight and getting a paycheck. Bitch slapping the NFL on national TV was frosting on the cake… PEACE