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Nike, Peaceful Protests, and Division

When I heard that people were protesting Nike because of their recent ad, I thought, “Sweet, are they featuring dopers? I am glad this is catching on.” After doing some reading and watching the ad, I was at first a little disappointed, a bit torn, and did a some research.

I don’t buy Nike because they have been implicated in supporting doping in long distance running. I like to follow some distance runners and have heard criticisms. I don’t know a lot of details, but why support a such a huge company (and dopers) when you can support other smaller brands?

So, when I saw the ad I couldn’t believe that people were protesting Nike because of the ad. The ad was inspirational featuring disabled athletes, famous athletes like Serena Williams and some controversial athletes including Colin Kaepernick. What? I wouldn’t have even know it was him without all the buzz in the news. People are pissed about that ad? First, it’s a really inspiring ad and second, really?

This got me to thinking about the issue of football players kneeling and why people are so pissed off. First, it seems like it is what our country is these days. Divided. If we all just assumed we were all doing our best and didn’t make up stories about each other and just leaned in, maybe things would be better, but on this issue I just see division and anger.

I really think these football players have the right to kneel before the flag.  They are peacefully protesting police brutality and I hate to mention it, also actions of our President.  Awareness and change might not happen in this country without protest. A first amendment right, women, without peaceful protests, you might not have the right to vote. Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King calling for racial equality. To me it seems that our flag represents kneeling. It represents the right to protest. If police brutality is acceptable then I don’t respect the flag. If we don’t have the right to kneel, I don’t respect the flag.

So back to the Nike ad. They are losing business and people are pissed because they are featuring Colin Kaepernick. On, the other hand they are gaining business because people are happy they are featuring Colin, Kaepernick. The loss and gain is dependent on which news source you read. Divided. I saw the ad, more than once it’s inspiring. The focus isn’t on Colin, the focus is on following your dreams, believing in something and going for it. For me the message does not have to be bigger than that.

The ad inspired me (like write this blog), I feel like I want to do something big, and for that I think Colin Kaepernick is doing more good in this world than playing football. A quick look at his website and he really is. He has set up an organization called Know Your Rights Camp, an organization to raise awareness on higher education, self empowerment, and instructions on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios. He has has donated a million dollars of his money to organizations representing social justice. He is one of those people who saw his calling placed before him and despite everything he is not only following his calling but he is inspiring others to follow their callings.

Am I sensing a shift in the hateful division? I brushed away the general media like brushing fall leaves off a surface. Right below written on that surface was a message of goodness and positive intention. It makes me wonder if we are taking a turn from the hateful division and below the mainstream media there are more individuals than we think making positive change, leaning in, and healing that division. It just takes a little bit of looking to find them. I am confident as time goes by the looking will get less and less.

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