UNITED STATES - Colin Kaepernick, the former Super Bowl Quarterback, continues to demonstrate that standing for one's convictions by ‘taking a knee,’ can open exponentially more doors and hearts than the adversary would have us believe. In an era when divisions seem to flood the airwaves, when hatred and xenophobia seem to have become humanity’s default, and hopelessness seemingly the best alternative to despair, activists like Kaepernick and others demonstrate the cost and reward of bravery.
There are many athletes with international fame, but in recent months, sports icons such as the U.S.A. Women’s Soccer Team Captain Megan Rapinoe, who led the U.S. Women’s team to its fourth world championship, tennis phenom Serena Williams, and basketball great LeBron James are each utilizing their professional platforms to support, inspire, and promote political and social causes, as well as encourage those with smaller voices to not be cowed into silence.
But it is Kaepernick’s protests against racial injustice, which has resulted in the most prolonged and sustained positive impact on highlighting social injustice. His activism was catapulted to international acclaim when Nike chose him to headline their 30th Anniversary of the Just Do It campaign in September of 2018. This video not only elevated Kaepernick’s profile, but it also increased Nike’s stock price, proving the capital and intrinsic value of standing by one’s convictions.
Recently, the partnership was in the news again for Kaepernick’s role in stopping Nike from selling a special edition Air Max 1 that featured Betsy Ross's original United States flag, revered by nationalists as an emblem of freedom, with the understanding that these liberties were not for all people. Once again, this controversy threatened the economic, political, and social fortunes of both Kaepernick and Nike, but neither bowed to the pressure, resulting in even greater recognition.
To realize greatness in one’s chosen field, it takes dedication, unwavering tenacity, and commitment to the dream of a future much different from the “now” in which we inhabit. All significant accomplishments started with what people often labeled as “crazy,” thus it is fitting that the Nike commercial narrated by Kaepernick and titled "Dream Crazy,” has been nominated for a 2019 Emmy for Outstanding Commercial.
One does not do a thing in search of recognition or acclaim, and often this is not the result of such actions, but on the rare occasion when the confluence of events is such that opprobrium occurs, it is worth noting. The Emmy Awards will take place Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, and win, lose, or honorable mention, Kaepernick is already a Hero.
Counterpoint: Kaepernick Was Right — Racists Love the Betsy Ross Flag (insidesources.com)
How LeBron Turned His Instagram Feed Into a Page for Social Activism (theringer.com)