Athletic shoe and apparel maker Adidas recently announced that it would be willing to give Colin Kaepernick an endorsement contract if he were signed to an NFL team. That sounds all well and dandy, but many people, both for and against Kaep, doubt that he’ll ever win another NFL gig due to the league-wide acts of protest that he initiated back in 2016, as well as his ongoing collusion lawsuit.
The statement was made by Adidas North American president Mark King during a Q&A with the CEO of Arizona State University’s Global Sport Institute, Kenneth L. Shropshire, at the Arizona State Global Sports Summit last Friday, according to The Arizona Republic
He explained the apparel company “would definitely want to sign” the quarterback if an NFL team picks him up. He added that Adidas has shifted to represent “the intersection between culture and sports” for several years. He continued by stating that, though the company is “not in the business of activism”, they still want “athletes to tell their story.”
Adidas should sign @Kaepernick7 regardless of an NFL deal. They’re doing deals with all these other “influencers” how many have more influence than him.
“We love athletes that have a platform to make the world a better place,” King said according to The Republic. “If they’re an activist in a way that brings attention to something that moves the world forward, even if there’s controversy at that moment, we’re really interested in those athletes because I think it represents the world today.”
Kaepernick was most recently offered an invite to work out for the Seattle Seahawks. However, the deal reportedly was “postponed” after he did not give a definitive answer on whether or not he would continue to kneel this season. Although Kaepernick stated that he would no longer protest during the last offseason, the circumstances that led him to follow his conscience in the first place are still more palpable than ever with the death of Stephon Clark at the hands of two Sacramento Police officers.
Adidas has long been at the intersection between sports and culture. One could say they’re one of the first athletic wear companies to take advantage of that paradigm via its association with Run DMC back in the ’80s, who enjoyed rock star status long before any rap group could claim the same. Additionally, sci-fi fiends remember those signature Star Wars kicks, hoodies and sweats from a few years back.
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With Run DMC (music) and Star Wars (film), you see how the company incorporated both black culture and the American pop culture experience into wildly successful marketing campaigns. Also, they’ve already got a deal with Kanye. Again, they’ve always been quick to pay homage to black and pop culture.
Most Americans cannot fathom the obvious, that racism and capitalism are fraternal twins born of the same womb. However, that is not to say that capitalism cannot be used to fight its twin. Indeed, this is what boycotts for social justice are attempting to do.
Therefore, it is not totally off-base for Kaep to consider or even sign a deal with Adidas. But what is off-base is that Adidas believes he has to be playing football in order for him to be a marketable spokesperson for their apparel.
In a sentiment Colin Kaepernick has echoed throughout his protests as an NFL player, he quoted Jackie Robinson’s words in a tweet Sunday: “I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.” https://t.co/8YO8aOukaV
Even though he’s no longer playing in the National Football League, the fame acquired by his selfless acts have garnered him an international fan base, the likes of which few American football players can match.
While others rely on a life lived between the chalked lines for their notoriety, Kaep’s continued fight for the disenfranchised and marginalized of America could potentially make him one of their biggest brand endorsers of all-time.
However, it takes an open mind and a willingness to take risks to make that happen.