Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt
NFL says social justice issues raised by Colin Kaepernick and others ‘deserve our attention and action’
Via USA: Today
Colin Kaepernick has largely remained quiet amid his ongoing collusion grievance against the NFL, but the league issued a statement after Nike unveiled a marketing campaign Monday featuring the free agent quarterback.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity,” NFL executive vice president of communications and public affairs Jocelyn Moore said Tuesday in a statement. “We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities. The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
The statement comes one day after Nike, the NFL’s official apparel sponsor, unveiled a powerful advertisement featuring Kaepernick as part of the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign.
“Believe in something,” the advertisement reads in white letters in front of a black-and-white portrait of Kaepernick. “Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick remains unsigned and has filed a collusion grievance against the NFL. Kaepernick’s lawyers contend that his involvement in various social causes, including on-field protests of police brutality and social inequality during the pre-game playing of the national anthem, prompted NFL owners to collude to deny his employment in the league.
Late in August 2016, Kaepernick started his protests – first sitting, then kneeling – during the playing of the anthem. Many players have followed his lead.
Kaepernick’s legal team secured a minor victory last week in the case, when arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled against the NFL in the league’s bid for a summary judgment, determining there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial.
The NFL and Nike have a partnership extending through 2028, and the company manufactures the jerseys and game-day apparel for all 32 franchises.
When asked if Nike at any point consulted or communicated with the NFL regarding using Kaepernick as one of the faces of its campaign, the company declined comment.
“Nike has a long-standing relationship with the NFL and works extensively with the league on all campaigns that use current NFL players and its marks,” a Nike representative wrote in a statement to USA TODAY Sports. “Colin isn’t currently employed by an NFL team and has no contractual obligation to the NFL.”
Follow Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.