This past week, Nike has made headlines by featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of their “Just Do It” campaign. This has of course sparked outrage and created a great deal of animosity towards Nike. I am among those who are upset and will elaborate on why I upset in this post. I believe that this move will hurt the Nike brand in the long run and permanently taint the image of the company in the eyes of millions of Americans.
Kaepernick caught the nation’s attention when he refused to stand for the national anthem when it was played at an NFL game in 2016. He said that he was doing this to being awareness of the fact that America is oppressing black people and other people of color. Not only is this not true, but he disrespected the American flag and the national anthem over this falsehood. Nobody disputes that he had a first amendment right to protest. However, the issue was more over upsetting patriotic fans and going against that values of his country. While he has a legal right to protest, the public is not required to accept him protesting their flag in a stadium that was paid for with their tax dollars. They came to enjoy football, not see a political statement. Kaepernick’s protest also shows that social justice warriors will desecrate what you hold dear in order to push their own message. The fact that Nike has chosen to use Kaepernick in their campaign has shown that they also stand against what Americans value.
The image of the advertisement shows Colin Kaepernick’s face with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Those words are so vapid and incorrect it was hard for me to believe that Nike would push such a thing. It does not tell us to believe in the truth, believe in facts or to be righteous. Nike is just telling us to believe in something. Adolf Hitler believed in something too, and sacrificed everything for his beliefs. Are we to be believe that Hitler did a good thing? Simply having a commitment to something and sacrificing yourself for the cause is not a good thing in itself. Also, Kaepernick did not sacrifice everything for what he believed in. In fact, he has likely made millions of dollars in his deal with Nike. Kaepernick is also in the process of suing the NFL for colluding against him. For argument’s sake, I will grant him his premise that he is being blackballed from the league. Even if this is true, I believe that that NFL owners should have the right to do this if they feel it is necessary. Kaepnerick’s anthem protest and this lawsuit have shown the owners that he is not worth the trouble that he brings. Since he stopped playing in the NFL, Kaepernick has focused more on his activism and has propagated more lies about America.
Kaepernick said at his speech in Amsterdam after receiving the Amensty International Ambassador of Conscience Award this year, “racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation – the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of black and brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of black and brown lives in the prison industrial complex.”The idea that law enforcement is racially discriminating against blacks killing them at will without any consequences is a myth that must be put to rest. The police are not discriminating against blacks, but rather acting in response to the disproportionate amount of crime that blacks commit. Heather MacDonald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has researched the issue of race and crime and cites a Department of Justice study of the 75 largest counties in America. Blacks made up 15% of the population in those counties, yet they were charged with 62% of robberies, 57% of murders and 45% of assaults. In New York City, blacks commit 75% of all shootings, while making up only 23% of the population. Whites on the other hand, commit only 2% of all shootings, while making up 34% of the city’s population.
Furthermore, in 2014 there were 6,095 black homicide victims in the United States. In 2015, there were only 258 blacks who were killed by the police. In fact, a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is likely to be killed by a police officer. The fact is that the vast majority of blacks who are murdered are murdered by other blacks. A common response to this is that whites who are murdered are also mostly killed by other whites. What this doesn’t take into account is the fact that blacks commit murder at a much higher rate than whites do. Blacks make up about 13% of the U.S. population, yet they commit 52.5% of all homicides in the country. It is not elderly blacks and black women in general who are committing these murders. it is mostly young black men. A more accurate approximation would be 3-4% of the population committing almost half the murders in our country.
The statistics that I have presented should give some perspective as to why the police disproportionately arrest blacks. The police have a limited amount of time and resources with which they can enforce the law. It therefore makes sense that they would focus their efforts in the areas where crime is the highest. A clear demonstration of this is shown in The Color of Crime, a statistical analysis done by the New Century Foundation. They tracked the number of reported offenders by race from the National Crime Victimization Survey and matched them with the number of people who were arrested by race for each crime. They found that they arrest rates for blacks closely matched the numbers of black offenders that were reported for each type of crime. This is a refutation of the idea that the police are targeting blacks because they are racist and wish to persecute them. In fact, it shows that the police are acting appropriately and arresting the people who are actually committing crimes, rather than showing anti-black bias.
Kaepernick says that police officers “continue to terrorize black and brown communities,” and accuses them of “abusing their power and then hiding behind their blue wall of silence.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there is evidence to show that the decrease in policing in 2015, also known as the Ferguson Effect, has led to a spike in violent crime in our cities. In Cleveland, homicides for 2015 increased by 90 percent over the previous year. Through the end of April 2015, shootings in St. Louis were up 39 percent, robberies 43 percent, and homicides 25 percent. Murders in Nashville rose 83 percent in 2015; Milwaukee closed out the year with a 72 percent increase in homicides. Shootings in Chicago had increased 24 percent and homicides 17 percent by May 2015. The police were the bulwark against the criminals who are terrorizing the black community before they were condemned by the likes of Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement.
By demonizing the police, Kaepernick is only putting more black lives in danger. He has refused to condemn the blacks who are murdering other blacks and instead focuses his efforts on the police, who are trying to solve the crime problem. Nike has validated his deceitful message and encourages the rest of us to follow his example. I would endorse the boycott against Nike for standing against what we hold dear and for helping spread Kaepernick’s false narrative. Considering how much Nike’s favorability has dropped across the board, it looks like many Americans are on board with this idea. It is time that American patriots refuse to do business with companies that go against our values and push causes endorsed by social justice warriors. Only then will we be able to put an end to this affront to our flag and national anthem.