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SEPTEMBER 6, 2018
Nike made a major mistake. Nike selected former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its "Just Do It" campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Darren Rovell of ESPN reported the choice of Kaepernick, who started the movement to kneel during the United States national anthem to protest racial injustice in August 2016. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports later reported that Kaepernick and Nike agreed to a new contract despite the fact Kaepernick has been with the company since 2011. Robinson added that "interest from other shoe companies" played a part in the new agreement.
Per Robinson, the contract is a "wide endorsement" where Kaepernick will have his own branded line including shoes, shirts, jerseys and more. According to Robinson, Kaepernick signed a "star" contract that puts him level with a "top-end NFL player" worth millions per year plus royalties. Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the Niners in March 2017 and hasn't been able to find a new team since. An April visit with the Seattle Seahawks was postponed after he did not assure the franchise he'd stand for the anthem if signed, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The 30-year-old quarterback filed a collusion
grievance against the league, which claimed he was being kept out of the
league because of the protests he started. His argument received a boost
last week when arbitrator Stephen B. Burbank ruled there was enough evidence
to require a full hearing. Although Kaepernick has received numerous
honors for his efforts, including being named GQ magazine's Citizen of
the Year for 2017, the movement he started remains polarizing. A
poll from liberal NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released last week
showed 54 percent of respondents deemed kneeling during the anthem "inappropriate,"
while 43 percent called it "appropriate." The numbers are much higher
when it comes to "inappropriate."