A Solid Foundation: Nike Launches Milestone Ad-Campaign Supporting Social Justice Issues. Trillium wonders what’s next.
September 21, 2018 // Boston, MA
Nike’s latest ad-campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick is a defining moment for the protests he began over two years ago and we commend Nike for rekindling the public conversation around systemic racism and police brutality. This ad-campaign sends another important signal that Nike is committed to advancing discussions brought forth by Mr. Kaepernick and other athletes around social inequities.
The need for Nike to step in was clear after the NFL instituted its “no-kneeling” policy in May 2018. Trillium, along with many others, saw this policy as an attack on free speech and another form of oppression of people of color. As such, the NFL’s new policy seemed to contradict Nike’s values and created significant reputational, and potentially financial, risk for the company – a major sponsor of the NFL. In this light, Trillium reached out to Nike to encourage it to use its position of influence with the NFL to push back against the no-kneeling policy. While Nike did not directly criticize the NFL policy (that has since been rescinded), we are pleased that Nike launched this campaign, which we believe shows its support for the issues underpinning Mr. Kaepernick’s protests.
While Nike has demonstrated leadership through the ad-campaign, it is not lost on us that the NFL is the organization largely responsible for turning Mr. Kaepernick’s protests into the very sacrifice that is the center of the ad-campaign. As a result, Trillium urges Nike to go further in demonstrating its commitment to social justice by ending its sponsorship of the NFL. Short of this, Nike must wield its influence in backing the NFL players as the anthem policy and other social justice issues emerge over the next year.
Now is not the time to play both sides – it’s time to stand for something.
Contact: Allan Pearce, Shareholder Advocate, email@example.com
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