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Taking a Knee on Nike

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” is the grab line to get your undivided attention as Nike Corporation recently unveiled its fall Just Do It advertising campaign. The latest Nike brainstorm will feature some of today’s top athletes such as LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Colin Kaepernick. You just can’t even make this stuff up. Why on God’s green earth would anyone want Colin Kaepernick associated with those words, for any reason?

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I don’t really want to even use any space in Webb Weekly to discuss Colin Kaepernick. I know the truth. I watched it unfold, and I do not believe any of the fairytale the national media, social media or online sources want you to believe.

So, this is where I’d like to take a knee on Colin Kaepernick, but I’ll try to be quick and to-the-point. First of all, he has sacrificed nothing, let alone everything. In 2012 the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Alex Smith suffered a concussion, Colin Kaepernick took over, and the 49ers went to the Superbowl. Alex Smith was capable of playing in the playoffs, but the team believed in Colin Kaepernick. Why? Because they were winning. For Kaepernick’s production on the field, the 49ers award him a $126 million contract. Kaepernick plays well enough the next season that the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game. All is good in the world of Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. There is no taking a knee in the name of social injustice, only big checks and winning football.

The NFL is completely driven by winning. If a franchise does not win, the first man to lose his job is the quarterback, followed by the head coach. Colin Kaepernick’s production went down the next three seasons as the 49ers failed to make the playoff for three consecutive seasons. Kaepernick was held accountable for his play, and bounced back and forth between starting and being on the bench. He was disgruntled and frustrated by his play and his lack of playing time. This leads us to the infamous taking of a knee during the National Anthem.

The first game Kaepernick took a knee at was a preseason contest. It had absolutely nothing to do with protesting anything. It had everything to do about a self-centered football player angered he had lost his job as starting quarterback. There was no mission statement about taking a knee during the National Anthem in the name of social injustice; there was no one else kneeling with him. This took place only after Kaepernick was scrutinized over his behavior. If the truth was ever told, the second taking of a knee was more about Kaepernick trying to force a trade to regain a starting position for another team. The 49ers did not take the bait. They let him sit and kneel on the bench. The taking of the knee then became that protest during the National Anthem, that everybody is sick of hearing about.

But wait, there’s more. No other team in the NFL wanted QB Kaepernick. This became a conspiracy and collusion by the NFL owners to keep Colin Kaepernick from playing again. Back to that thing called winning that makes a franchise successful and keeps a coach’s job along with putting a lot of money in the owner’s pocket. An NFL team, I’m sorry to say, would play Satan at quarterback to win games. Kaepernick was not acquired by any other team simply because he wasn’t good enough. His skills had diminished. He couldn’t help them win.

There’s only one player in NFL history that comes to mind when I hear the words sacrificing everything. Pat Tillman of the Arizona Cardinals. Tillman stepped away from the NFL in the prime of his career to serve in the United States military. He gave up fame and fortune to become an Army Ranger and serve his Country. He paid the ultimate price, so we have the freedom to stand during the National Anthem and watch a football game.

So much for being quick, and to the point. That gets us to Nike’s decision to use Kaepernick in a starting role. Obviously, in a boardroom somewhere, a group of someones convinced the big shots at Nike that this was in their best financial interest. Always remember, follow the money trail and it will lead you to the truth. This would be a hip new advertising campaign targeting millennials and what’s in their wallet. It would bring in millions for Nike under the camouflage of standing up to social injustice by supporting Kaepernick. That poor individual that sacrificed everything that Nike could help out and reward for his efforts.

What in the Michael Jordan could Nike have been thinking? To really think this would play? To compromise their relationship with the NFL? To begin the campaign on the eve of the NFL season and dredge up all the negativity and division possible? To think this would take Nike to a new level of coolness in the marketing world of today? Of course, this is all supported by the media running with this campaign of lies. The American people will vote on Nike’s decision and how they feel about anybody taking a knee during the National Anthem, especially while being paid millions by their employer, at the cash register.

Again, remember, it’s all about the money trail and has always been with Nike. “Whatever it takes to make a buck, no matter who is sacrificing everything. Just Do It.” should be Nike’s mantra. Sweatshop labor in a third world nation, Just Do It. Low wages, poor working conditions, child labor, an abusive work environment. Just Do It. Ignore complaints from the women in your workforce, cover up the true number of women in management positions, and exploit individuals based upon race to sell your products in lower-income neighborhoods, Just Do It.

Nike has stopped at nothing over the years to build the worldwide giant they have become. Most of their factories are located in Asia, including Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan. Maybe Colin Kaepernick will be a big hit in that region.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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