“Just do it”

As Americans, as proud patriots, and as human beings who understand the true definition of sacrifice, we have ought to be utterly disgusted with not only the NFL but with Nike. On September 4th, Nike released its 30th anniversary promotion for their “just do it” campaign. The promotional posts featured none other than Colin Kaepernick himself. Let me refresh you a bit on who Colin Kaepernick is and what he stands for. Kaepernick a man of half Caucasian, and half African American descent was adopted by two loving white parents at a very young age.

Kaepernick grew up with what most like to call a “privileged” childhood, plenty of food on the table, love, and endless opportunities to go around. But yet the second Kaepernick gets paid millions of dollars a year to throw around a ball, he and his so-called people are suddenly oppressed? I think not.

When Kaepernick decided not to stand for the national anthem, his message was made loud and clear. He has not one ounce of respect for those who fought and died for our country. The flag and our anthem represent everyone in America, no matter what race or ethnicity you are. And in a country that has given Kaepernick so much, how dare he take a knee and trash all over it. Likewise, if Kaepernick is going to act so childish and take a knee, the least he could do is stand up like a man and instill some actual change for the minority groups he likes to claim to represent. He cries about oppression in minority communities, and how white people are to blame for their problems, but in reality, we had a African American President for eight years so if anyone is to blame for minority problems, it’s Obama. Additionally, if Kaepernick truly cared about politics and who was in charge of our nation, he should have done his civil duty in the 2016 election and voted, instead of whining about it now.

Not only has Kaepernick disgraced his very own name, he has also disgraced a sport that has brought so many Americans together for so long. Never before have we seen a sport turn into a political playing field. Whether it be basketball, baseball, hockey, or football, the purpose of sports is to unify communities not divide them. No matter what race, background, or political party, people could come together and support the same thing, and cheer for the same people for a night. Kaepernick has destroyed this, and the NFL has done nothing to repair it.
To be quite blunt, if you are going to live in a nation that is willing to pay you millions of dollars a year, you better stand up and salute the flag that gives you that very privilege. You better stand to thank the people who died, fighting for your rights, fighting for strangers everyday so that we can live free. And this goes for all NFL players, not just Kaepernick.

The argument that likes to tout “freedom of speech”, is not only distasteful but utterly disrespectful. Let me remind you again, people died fighting for our flag and the freedom it gives us. At a bare minimum we owe it to those brave men and women to stand proudly not as Whites, not as Blacks, not as Hispanics, but as Americans. While focusing on Kaepernick is important, it is also vital to focus on Nike as an organization and how they chose to be a part in this movement. While it clearly was a foolish move financially with their stock dropping nearly four percent, it was an even worse choice socially because they have now lost half their base of customers. Likewise, Nike paying Kaepernick and then calling it sacrifice, completely devalues the word and nearly takes away all of its meaning.

There were people who indeed sacrificed it all for our country, who would have been much better choices for this campaign. Pat Tillman of the Arizona Cardinals, who died for our country while in Afghanistan, and Alejandro Villanueva of the Steelers and former Army Ranger; are just two examples of people who understand sacrifice and what it means to stand for the anthem. As an avid football fan, and as a young American is about time we learn to honor and value those who truly sacrificed everything in the name of defending a country who can’t even gather its own people to show them one ounce of respect.

Lauren Haggar
ASU freshman