The Dispatch! The REAL Controversy Behind Kaepernik!
The raging controversy of Colin Kaepernick continues. This time it’s been sparked by the shoe company Nike who used his image in an ad that said “Believe In Something, Even If It Means Sacrificing Everything”. Some of you may already be familiar with the former 49’ers quarterback but a quick recap of what’s been going on with him.
Colin Kaepernick was a large voice in sports that took a knee during the National Anthem, protesting violence against the Black Community from institutions like the United States Government and America’s Police force. According to Donald Trump that makes him anti-Veteran. We still haven’t really found any evidence that connects the two but hey people still believe in a near naked buff dude that controls the universe so…stranger things have happened. Kaepernick became a free agent and there’s a lot of controversy surrounding that fact too. Some say the protests are why he lost his job, other say it’s sports record, but mostly we’re missing his point.
So this is huge for him. A company Nike that used him and what he stood for an ad campaign means he’s back to making some kind of money. Nike shoes have not been favorable with the left because they use sweatshops and slave labor! Which means that they want you get a real good workout while making the shoes before consumers use it as excuse not get a workout! They can skip leg day because the sweatshop workers literally can’t! They’re on their feet all day and it’s mandatory!
But the real crux of this issue comes from the right. They’re now boycotting Nike shoes and some even their socks. That means we’re going to see a lot people on the right rocking sandals with ripped socks…which, lets be honest is shameful and should be pitied.
However bad the left is with meming, the right is just as bad with boycotts. The right is setting the brand of the shoes on fire and cutting the logos off Nike socks. Look there’s a story that Nike only paid the designer $75 for that logo. A logo that is so ionic now that it’s probably worth millions! The worth of the logo alone can feed all of the sweatshop workers of Nike or at least get them some chairs! So if you’re big boycott plan is to cut or burn the logo, they could careless…even less than what they paid for the logo!
Now Nike’s stocks dropped by 3% in the first 24 hours of this but they’re not worried. Mostly because stocks don’t really control the economy. The stock market is basically a popularity contest of corporate interests. All this means Nike is probably not in the running for being the corporatocracy’s Prom Queen this year. Nike has come out and said the folks that are protesting are not their target audience so they’re not worried. Which is fair, the old white men that are mostly against Kaepernick and see HIS PROTEST as a slight against the troops and the vets aren’t looking to buy Nike shoes. They’re more of a New Balance crowd. Which is ironic because their perspective is skewed to one side for sure! And this is proof that shoes REALLY don’t make the man.
Nike has also come out and said this is part of a series of posters they’re release as a part of a marketing campaign about how certain limelit athletes have over come obstacles. Sure its a nice sentiment but I doubt their obstacles were over come with a pair Nikes. I’m sure a lot of had to do with determination, grit and support their loved ones. All things that you’d see in a shoe commercial that has nothing to do with shoes.
There’s a lot of Distraction Politics in this issue. The Veterans are being used to distract us from Kaepernick’s actual message of systemic and institutional issues within racism. The shoes are being used as a distraction for the fact Vets aren’t taken care of after they fight Old Neo-Cons and Neo-Liberals’ wars! And Nike is using our beliefs, values and fervor to sell shoes! They just proved the fact that at this point we don’t know how to use advertising for good. If Nike really wants to show the people that they care about what these athletes stand for, they should pay their sweatshop workers an actual livable wage. Till then your hypocrisy is nothing more than a manipulation of man who did put his career on the line to stand for something real. Instead shilling shoes and pissing of Veterans who themselves have been manipulated!
So if you’re on the left and you’re praising Nike for their stance on the Kaepernick, I’d urge you to support him and the values he stands rather another corporation. And those on the right that hate this movement, I’d urge you to listen. Listen to what the reality of the kneel is. This is a situation where both sides have been manipulated and the ones that are really getting away with it are a corporation and a government working hand in hand to have us all kneeling. Not in protest but in subservience.
Krish Mohan is a socially conscious, Indian standup comedian and writer who regularly tours the country. He performs at small theaters, bars, comedy clubs, colleges, DIY and house venues. With his quirky attitude, charming personality, and intelligent humor, Krish captivates and engages audiences of all backgrounds, tackling hot button topics like race, religion, war, immigration, while adding an optimistic, philosophical & sociological twist!