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The former NFL player revealed the ad to the world in a tweet on Monday. It shows a close-up photo of his face overlaid with the words: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt.”
ESPN reporter Darren Rovell confirmed that Kaepernick is “the face of the company’s 30th anniversary of the ‘Just Do It’ campaign.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Kaepernick has worked with Nike since 2016, although he hasn’t played on an NFL team since that year.
The NFC conference-winning quarterback ignited national controversy when he began kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest police brutality against people of color. His actions inspired other athletes to do the same, but the protests were met with widespread condemnation, including from President Donald Trump.
After Kaepernick tweeted the ad, comments flooded in—to both praise him and to denounce Nike for supporting him.
I am a disabled veteran Colin and want you to know that I get it.— Joe Williams (@a19marvet) September 3, 2018
You are one of my heroes and in good company.
Nike will never see a dollar of mine again. Let's see how long they survive now— 📠 (@TheyCallMeAzul) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick has repeatedly defended his decision to protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in 2016. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The NFL and the players’ union still haven’t agreed on a policy addressing whether athletes should be allowed to peacefully protest before games.
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Kris Seavers is the IRL editor for the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.