NFL Backs Colin Kaepernick on ‘Social Justice Issues’: They ‘Deserve Our Attention and Action’

New face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign gets nod of approval from league that doesn’t seem to want him as a starter

Colin Kaepernick

While your dad was busy burning his tennis shoes, the NFL has shown some support for the new face of Nike’s “Just Do It” ad campaign, Colin Kaepernick.

“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities,” Jocelyn Moore, the NFL’s executive vice president of Communications and Public Affairs, said in a statement obtained by TheWrap on Tuesday. “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”

That should make official NFL apparel company Nike feel somewhat assured, though it won’t quite erase the monetary hit the company behind Air Jordans suffered today.

When the U.S. stock markets opened this morning, Nike lost $3.75 billion in market value. It since recovered some of that, though shares of NKE stock closed down more than 3 percent. Credit that to the #BoycottNike movement, which trended on Twitter for much of the day.

Despite not playing a professional down of football since 2016, Kaepernick has remained a Nike athlete as the company continued to pay him, according to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell.

The new “Just Do It” ad, which celebrates 30 years of the campaign, hits on the protests Kaepernick started in 2016, when he began kneeling during the National Anthem before NFL games as a means of raising awareness and protesting racial inequality in America, and the shooting deaths of unarmed black men, women and children by police officers.

The number of NFL players taking up the protest and kneeling during the anthem has dwindled as the league has attempted to curtail the issue.

The protests created a firestorm in the media and among football fans. President Donald Trump made the protests one of his main issues on Twitter, saying that players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired.

Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, brought a lawsuit against the NFL, accusing the league of colluding to keep him from being signed by any NFL team. Last week a court issued him a preliminary win in his case, essentially granting a full hearing on the dispute, according to The New York Times, despite the NFL’s efforts to sweep the issue under the rug.