An Open Letter to Nike

This morning I woke up disappointed. Disappointed because once again as far as some people would like to believe we’ve moved forward in our country, but that’s just not the case. As a Black man in America that has been a daunting struggle for the majority of my life, whether I noticed it or not. I feel this way because of  the reactions of ignorant individuals, after what was one of the most inspirational and beautiful things I have seen a brand, a company, a business, do in my life. Nike has drawn a line in the sand and chosen their side, and it is something I have the utmost respect for.

As someone who has personally supported the brand for a long time, and also having had a business relationship with them, I am proud to see the direction and priorities they’ve had this year. The “Be True” campaign is nothing new from them, but to see greater visibility on its roll out and a wider lineup of products shows the clear support of the LGBTQ community. As I spoke on earlier this year, we have also gotten a greater emphasis on Women’s Exclusive attire and footwear, from both Jordan Brand and Nike. There has heen a greater push on the “Force is Female” movement, which was well received by all this year. Nike even addressed some of their own internal concerns in regards to female treatment within the workplace, which showed me this isn’t just a marketing angle, and that they were in this for the long haul. These are all speaking to a focus on character of the company, which are things we do not always see from global corporations. Many places speak to their credos, their missions, and ethics, but to align their beliefs with social priorities doesn’t always happen. So, for us to see it as something that has been very consistent from them this year, it’s truly refreshing

Last night for their 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” campaign, Nike announced they had chosen Colin Kaepernick to be the face. Instantly, this took the internet by storm.  The first visual for the campaign is a bold black and white portrait of Kap reading “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” It gave me chills when I saw it and that wasn’t where it stopped. Soon after the announcement we all found out Nike had never stopped paying Kaepernick, which is something we have never really seen. These are things I’m not sure I have words for. Many companies do not stand by people. In certain instances, people don’t always stand by people. That just seems to be the way of the world. So, for Nike to have been standing by Colin for this long knowing that there will be a minority of their supporters who will not be happy about it speaks volumes. That is the ultimate sacrifice from the company themselves.

I have personally always been a supporter of the company, but this move along with the others I have mentioned have most likely retained my business for life. From a business standpoint, I and the team at SOCIAL are proud to say we are associated with the brand. This is not about growth or profitability, this was about the people and that is something I admire.

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