Author: CPT Tyler Merritt, USA, Ret. CEO
Nike promotes the belief that regardless of age, gender, race, or even physical fitness levels, everyone's an athlete. This notion was solidified in a September 5, 1988 marketing campaign known as “Just Do It.” For thirty years Nike stayed true to their mission statement and solidified themselves as company with values. They donate a great deal to charitable endeavors and even spearheaded an initiative to promote equality for women in the Middle East. So what happened?
Enter Colin K, Nike’s newly appointed “Moral Compass.” As a West Point graduate, and retired Army CPT, I can say with complete certainty there is no honor or respect in what has recently transpired. Although Nike cannot control the actions of their Brand Ambassador, they do not have to condone it.
Beyond taking a knee, beyond tarnishing the reputation of our flag, Colin seems hell bent on distorting facts with the intention of creating controversy. While last year’s video montage of Colin K “sacrificing everything” made very little sense, it created controversy, strengthened a racial divide, but most importantly it drove sales. Fast forward a year later, Nike continues to champion and follow the direction of a man who is fixated on distorting facts for his own personal agenda.
Adding insult to injury over this most sacred holiday, Nike’s brand ambassador pulled selective verbiage from an iconic speech made by Fredrick Douglass in an attempt to promote anger during the 4th of July. To clarify, Fredrick Douglass was an abolitionist, a writer, and most importantly a true patriot. His speech, given prior to the civil war, condemned slavery as a horrid practice and at that moment in time, he believed the 4th of July could not be celebrated by African Americans. Although Douglass later touts the “genius of American Institutions” in his speech and remained certain the country would end the despicable practice, Colin allows his followers to believe he hates the US. In our humble opinion, Douglass is the perfect example of patriotism. He loved his country and demonstrated this love through acts of kindness at great personal risk. By comparison, Colin K manipulates social postings into creating hatred towards fellow countrymen. Like it or not, those police officers, and other civil servants are your countrymen and if you truly hope to honor the teachings of a patriot like Fredrick Douglass, we invite Colin Kaepernick to enter into a dialogue and start conversation to begin action towards substantial change.