Former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, has a new advertising campaign with Nike, even without having played professional football since 2016.
Unbeknownst to most people, Kaepernick still has an existing sponsorship deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multi-year deal to make him one of the faces of Nike's 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign, according to a person familiar with the contract. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Nike hasn't officially announced the contract.
Kaepernick's attorney, Mark Geragos, made the announcement on Twitter, calling the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback an "All American Icon" and crediting attorney Ben Meiselas for getting the deal done.
Kudos to @Nike who realized @Kaepernick7 is an All American icon Proud and humbled to have @meiselasb help to get this done https://t.co/fHKyRSNsU2— Mark Geragos (@markgeragos) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick also posted a Nike ad featuring his face and wrote: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/SRWkMIDdaO— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
The message is certainly fitting to Kaepernick's story. During a preseason game in 2016, he decided not to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Other athletes later joined in his protest, sparking a controversy that has been linked to declining television ratings for National Football League games.
"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 an interview after the 2016 game when the protest began. "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."
According to ESPN, Nike has kept paying Kaepernick — who signed with the brand in 2011 — despite not using him in ads over the past two years. The company said it planned to bring him back at the right time.
"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 V.P. of brand in North America Gino Fisanotti told ESPN.
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