Former NFL star Colin Kaepernick revealed his new ad with Nike on Wednesday after the athlete entered into an agreement to be the face of the 30th anniversary of the company's "Just Do It" campaign.
In the ad, Kaepernick's voice complements footage of young athletes, some with disabilities, striving to be the best performers they can be.
Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt https://t.co/x5TnU7Z51i— Colin Kaepernick (@Colin Kaepernick)1536167481.0
"If they laugh at what you think you can do, good, stay the way," the ad begins. "Because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult. It's a compliment."
The ad journeys through footage of athletes of all ages, races, abilities, and genders, with Kaepernick encouraging viewers to strive to be the best in the world at what they are doing.
"Be the fastest ever," Kaepernick says. "Don't settle for homecoming queen or linebacker. Do both."
Don't believe you have to be like anybody to be somebody.
The ad then pivots to professional sports, citing LeBron James' dedication of a school, before cutting to Kaepernick.
"Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," Kaepernick says. "So don't ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they're crazy enough."
Kaepernick starred in the inspiring ad after sacrificing his career as an NFL quarterback while protesting police brutality against people of color. He famously "took a knee" during an NFL game in 2016, sparking a national debate over free speech and whether NFL players should be forced to stand during the national anthem.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said Nike was sending a "terrible message" by signing with Kaepernick.
"I think it’s a terrible message. I have Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay me a lot of rent. But I think it’s a terrible, horrible message that they’re sending," Trump said in an interview with the Daily Caller. "And the purpose of them doing it, you know, maybe there is a reason for them doing it."
Trump did acknowledge, however, that there are legitimate arguments on both sides of the debate.
"In another way, it is what this country is all about," Trump conceded, "that you have certain freedoms to do things that other people think you shouldn't do, but I personally am on a different side of it."
Reactions to the ad were mixed on social media. Many praised Nike and Kaepernick for standing up for free speech and social justice.
"That was powerful."
@Kaepernick7 That was powerful— Brandon Neely (@Brandon Neely)1536169944.0
@Kaepernick7 Bro u lifted me up 🙏🏼— Jay (@Jay)1536167540.0
@jaymartinez215 @Kaepernick7 Got me crying at work. 😢— Je suis Michelle (@Je suis Michelle)1536168037.0
@Kaepernick7 You are a hero. https://t.co/dfedUtw8BA— Amie (@Amie)1536172333.0
@Kaepernick7 @StevoGB10 @Joxway_ what a commercial.— David Hasid (@David Hasid)1536167903.0
@Kaepernick7 Thank you for everything you are doing and everything that you have been willing to sacrifice. https://t.co/vLPtfcMuGL— | The Guy With The Donkey Tattoo | (@| The Guy With The Donkey Tattoo |)1536167717.0
@Kaepernick7 Teary eyes and goosebumps. That was dope.— American Dreamer (@American Dreamer)1536167814.0
@Kaepernick7 Still my QB https://t.co/tYq5uTUa0U— Mark (@Mark)1536167709.0
@myP0ny17 @Kaepernick7 Forever and always! 🙏 https://t.co/VBxCMF9oek— Brendan Ables (@Brendan Ables)1536168219.0
Even a veteran chimed in to support Kaepernick.
Not everyone agreed.
Since the ad aired, scores of Nike customers, mostly white conservatives, have been destroying their Nike products in protest.
Any Questions? #BoycottNike https://t.co/Mg7tHZESQD— Florida For Trump (@Florida For Trump)1536073852.0
Our Soundman just cut the Nike swoosh off his socks. Former marine. Get ready @Nike multiply that by the millions. https://t.co/h8kj6RXe7j— John Rich (@John Rich)1536015769.0
@Kaepernick7 @Nike So many boycotters. So few gym memberships. 🤷🏼♂️— David Shae (@David Shae)1536157967.0
These acts of self-defeating defiance, however, likely won't sway Nike at all.
I worked in corporate strategy at Nike for years. Nike's most loyal and lucrative core consumer? Black youth. Not t… https://t.co/RRxbesVZ14— Fonda Lee (@Fonda Lee)1536072719.0
@Kaepernick7 @Nike ✔✔✔✔✔ #BelieveInSomething https://t.co/eHp8RJp6eR— Bib Miiro (@Bib Miiro)1536166369.0
Others criticized Kaepernick's claims of "sacrifice," noting that he is still getting paid a lot of money and gets to keep his fame.
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt https://t.co/SRWkMIDdaO— Colin Kaepernick (@Colin Kaepernick)1536002445.0
@Kaepernick7 I think it would be a good idea for you to define the words “sacrifice everything”. It must have a ne… https://t.co/VOdC9riJp0— A Good Idea (@A Good Idea)1536167866.0
Kaepernick has, in fact, donated time and money to underprivileged communities.
@Yulia20604140 @Kaepernick7 He has. https://t.co/lySufhgC3f— Carrie (@Carrie)1536169795.0
Most people, though, were supportive of the campaign.
@Kaepernick7 @Nike I just followed @Nike because of their support of @Kaepernick7 ! If you understand what this i… https://t.co/6qTQgRbzkN— Darlene Morse (@Darlene Morse)1536074741.0
@JoshHollingswo8 @Kaepernick7 @Houstadelphian Nike isn't sacrificing millions. They are investing in this voice bec… https://t.co/zYMMzeCUgB— Carrie (@Carrie)1536170288.0
There is a tinge of hypocrisy to those boycotting Nike, too.
@Kaepernick7 @Nike People are protesting & boycotting over this choice. But I guess the fact that Trump's face end… https://t.co/i0QlTqQpkr— Mary Force (@Mary Force)1536164525.0
Nike's ad is a powerful reminder that embracing diversity strengthens all of us and that everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed.