- Colin Kaepernick shared an image from what appears to be a new “Just Do It” ad campaign from Nike on Monday.
- The former NFL quarterback is notorious for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racial inequality, sparking similar demonstrations across the league and around the country.
- He’s in the middle of a lawsuit against the NFL, accusing owners of keeping him out of the league.
- Nike has represented Kaepernick since 2011, but hasn’t featured him in ads for two years, according to ESPN.
It looks like former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is starring in a new ad campaign for Nike.
He shared an image on his Twitter Monday of a close-up of his face with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Nike’s Twitter account later retweeted his post.
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/SRWkMIDdaO
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Nike has represented Kaepernick since 2011, but hasn’t featured him in ads for two years, according to ESPN.
A person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press that Kaepernick negotiated a new multi-year deal with Nike now that he’s out of the NFL, which will feature him in billboards, television commercials, and a new apparel line. Some proceeds will reportedly go to his Know Your Rights education camp.
This could mean that Nike is wading further into the political fray surrounding Kaepernick, who first knelt during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality. He is now embroiled in a lawsuit against the NFL, accusing owners of colluding to keep him out of the league.
In the 2017 season, anthem protests swept the NFL, and President Donald Trump condemned them. He has continued to express his derision of the practice since then.
Speaking at a rally in September 2017, Trump told the crowd: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out – he’s fired!’”
Players, teams, and even commissioner Roger Goodell defended players’ right to kneel, but the issue has simmered since then, and all eyes are on how teams will handle anthem protests this season.
“Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society,” the company said in a statement at the time.
The brand isn’t afraid of making a splash. When the French Open banned Serena Williams’ black catsuit in August, the company released an image defending the athlete it supports that said, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.”
The original “Just Do It” ad campaign premiered in 1988, when Nike featured 80-year-old Walt Stack jogging across the Golden Gate Bridge. Kaepernick’s spot is in celebration of the ad’s 30th anniversary, ESPN reported.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Nike’s vice president of brand for North America Gino Fisanotti told ESPN.
Nike did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the new ad.