On Wednesday, Nike dropped a commercial featuring Colin Kaepernick as part of the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign.
The brand went ahead and released the ad early on social media after it caused a rumble Monday after announcing that Kaepernick would be the face of its campaign.
“Believe in something,” the original advertisement reads over a portrait of Kaepernick. “Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick carries that same message to the recently released full-length spot, which he narrates. This two-minute ad, also part of “Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy” campaign, will first air on TV during the NFL season opener Thursday night, the company confirmed.
“Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign will air this week during sporting events such as the U.S. Open, M.L.B. and college football in addition to ‘Thursday Night Football,'” Josh Benedek, a Nike spokesman said.
The commercial highlights other Nike superstar athletes like LeBron James and Serena Williams as well as others working hard to overcome difficult challenges in order to achieve their dreams.
Although we hear his voice throughout, Kaepernick only first appears midway through the spot. In that frame, a U.S. flag is reflected on the facade of a building behind him, discreetly referencing Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest of police brutality during the national anthem in the 2016 season.
He appears again at the end of the ad to reveal that he is the voice narrating.
“Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy,” he says. “Ask if they are crazy enough.”
Kaepernick is a controversial pick for Nike because the sports brand is the NFL’s official apparel sponsor. The new campaign leaves the NFL in a particularly awkward position considering that the league’s owners issued a mandate to players this year, stating that they could only protest during the national anthem by staying in the locker room.
It was announced last week that Kaepernick’s collusion case against the league will get a formal hearing after an arbitrator denied the league’s request for a summary judgment. He’s alleged that the NFL colluded to deny him a contract as punishment for the protests.
Some people have taken to destroying their Nike gear in response to the campaign. President Donald Trump also commented on the ad warning that “ Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.”
Kaepernick has yet to comment on the campaign.