The sportswear maker Nike has announced it will use American football player Colin Kaepernick in its advertising campaign to celebrate its "Just Do It" 30th anniversary. Mr Kaepernick ignited controversy in 2016 while playing as quarterback for his team the San Francisco 49ers. He refused to stand for the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice and social issues. Instead he knelt down on one knee. This started a trend of other players "taking the knee" in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Kaepernick's actions caused heated debate. In September 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted that NFL players should be either fired or suspended if they failed to stand up for the national anthem.
Nike will use a close-up image of Kaepernick's face with the caption: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." Nike supplies the uniforms for all the NFL's 32 teams and is a corporate sponsor of the NFL. The company knows it will receive a backlash for using Mr Kaepernick in its ads. However, it said: "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." Yahoo Sports said: "It's an interesting decision for Nike. No other athlete produces the same emotional response as Kaepernick." Many on social media applauded Nike for its decision. One person tweeted: "Time to throw away all my Nike crap."