Colin Kaepernick's Nike ad.

On Monday, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. Here’s what Gino Fisanotti, Nike vice president of brand for North America, told Rovell about the company’s ad campaign with Kaepernick:

“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice president of brand for North America, told ESPN.

“We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes,” Fisanotti said.

Nike unveiled a powerful ad for the campaign on Monday, featuring a portrait of Kaepernick and the message, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick, 30, shared the ad from his Twitter and Instagram accounts:

The “Just Do It” campaign will also include athletes LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker, and Serena Williams.

In the 2016 NFL preseason, Kaepernick began sitting and kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality, and continued to do so throughout the regular season. This started a large movement of such protests across the NFL. Kaepernick played in 12 games for the 49ers in 2016, starting 11 of the games. He hasn’t played in a game since, and has an ongoing collusion casefiled in Oct. 2017 — against the NFL.

Through all of this, Nike still kept Kaepernick on their payroll (the endorsement agreement began in 2011), but avoided putting him to use over the last two years. That obviously changes with the new campaign. It’s going to be a “wide endorsement” featuring shoes and “Kaepernick apparel,” according to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson:

Naturally, the Kaepernick Nike ad campaign has gotten a ton of reaction — both positive and negative, of course — on social media. Some of the many examples (including some guy actually setting his Nikes on fire):

There’s sure to be much, much more reaction to this Kaepernick Nike ad campaign as it continues, and especially with the NFL season kicking off on Thursday.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at

8 thoughts on “Colin Kaepernick is the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary ‘Just Do It’ campaign, and that’s getting plenty of reaction

  1. I’m not sure if this is a good idea. Look at what happened to Target (and now Dick’s Sporting Goods) when they tried to (literally!) pander to the SJW crowd–with really bad financial results. Why do you think ESPN is losing viewers like crazy?

    1. Oh please god we still think ESPN losing viewers because of the dreaded liberal bias… It’s the laziest argument in sports. So what is the excuse for FS1, FS2 and NBC Sports because they are down too?… You ever think that folks are just tired of the talking heads, hot takes and just actually want to watch the freaking games? I have never said, oh I’m not watching FSU and VA Tech in Florida because of a liberal bias… Stop it.

  2. What exactly did Kaepernick “sacrifice”? Walking away from two contracts with guaranteed corn I suppose? Like Raymond said, ask Target and Dick’s how things worked out for them. Were I a stockholder in Nike, I’d be pissed because they are about to drive the price of the stock down with this stupid stunt.

      1. what did he lose? He turned down two contracts and Nike has been paying him all this time expecting him to get back into football.

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