NFL Owners Are Losing The Protest Battle Entering Week 1

    Week 1 of the NFL added a new level of intrigue when Colin Kaepernick —  NFL Owners Enemy No. 1 —  renegotiated his expiring deal with Nike into a multi-year contract to make him one of the faces of Nikes 30th anniversary Just Do It campaign

    Kaepernicks to be featured on several platforms, including billboards, television commercials and online ads. Nike also will create an apparel line for Kaepernick and contribute to his Know Your Rights charity. The deal puts him in the top bracket of Nike’s NFL endorsers. 

    The NFL and Nike extended their partnership in March to run through 2028. Nike provides all NFL teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that bears the swoosh logo. This latest move with Kaepernick does nothing to change Nike’s relationship with the NFL and everything to show just how ridiculous the NFLs stance on player protests continues to be. 

    The recent win in Kaepernick’s long journey to prove the NFL is colluding against him and safety Eric Reid, and the standing ovation the two blackballed NFL players got from the politically-diverse crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium this weekend at The U.S. Open, has given Nike more ammunition to go ahead with its support of Kaepernick as a brand

    Mark Geragos on Twitter

    The poor souls who don’t realize @Kaepernick7 & @E_Reid35 are American Icons are about to be given a rude forearm shiver #generationalfools…..#JustDoIt https://t.co/MhIJdUr0qj

    Mayo Twitter’s reaction to the Nike Ad doesn’t affect how Phil Knight moves. Nike has never been racially or politically affiliated on the surface, dating back to Michael Jordans famous line, Republicans buy sneakers too.

    Only a company as powerful as Nike can do business with the NFL and at the same time iconize and monetize the person NFL owners consider their greatest detriment at this point and the center of their consternation. Nike has essentially clowned the NFL and it’s bringing great pleasure to a legion of Kaepernick supporters. 

    Jemele Hill on Twitter

    I’m just here to remind folks that last year Colin Kaepernick was in the top 50 in NFL jersey sales, despite not being on a roster. Nike made a business move.

    Its also clear that more people consider Kaepernick a hero than those that label him as being disrespectful to the flag. That argument is losing steam, as major corporations like Nike, with deep, billion-dollar choke-holds on the sports culture, choose to accurately glorify the former 49ers quarterback and celebrate his sacrifice rather than demonize him. 

    Robert Littal on Twitter

    Tom Brady Approves of Colin Kaepernick Being Face of NIKE “Just Do It” Campaign https://t.co/dYwiAo2nfO

    Kaepernick’s latest string of moral victories against the NFL could incite more player protest in support of him being legitimized as hero in the courts (so far) and in the marketing world. It could also create a bigger pushback by NFL owners who are left looking silly as they do business with an entity that totally supports Colin Kaepernick. At this point, NFL owners are the ones who need to take a knee. With the exception of a few blackballed players, the NFL is getting whipped on this issue. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Colin Kaepernick given Sports Illustrated’s Muhammad Ali Legacy Award: https://t.co/h6yn1y11qS

    As Donald Trump gets deeper in the dung that he released with his political affairs, he has less time to incite divisiveness in the NFL. Therefore, Week 1 should go off without a hitch, regardless of how many player protests occur or which owners or disgruntled, misinformed fans speak out against kneeling during the anthem. 

    If anything, there will be an increased vigor by the NFLs predominantly African-American players to celebrate the few heroes who have fallen on the sword for the cause but are getting their due as freedom fighters and respected social icons. 

    In Kaep’s case, he’s getting reparations for his struggle, which is rare. 

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    This clip of Max Kellerman speaking on Colin Kaepernick and racial injustice as a whole is a must-watch. https://t.co/QbhhlYH2dx

    The purity of the game always wins in the end, but there are times when it takes a backseat to societal health. The twisted NFL/Kaepernick/Nike love triangle is proof that the two can co-exist and everybody can get paid, without suppressing the others ability to be human. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.