SDSU students and professors weigh in on Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick

Posted at 6:28 PM, Sep 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-04 21:36:37-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A 12-word Nike ad is sparking both outrage and support across the country.

It features former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem in 2016, protesting racial injustice. No team has signed Kaepernick in the wake of the movement he started.

Despite Nike taking a hit in stocks Tuesday, marketing professor Dr. Kristine Ehrich believes the bold move will benefit the company in the long run.

“Customers are demanding their brands take a stand," said Ehrich. “Nike is not afraid to say, 'These are the values we believe in, this is the stand we are taking.'"

Several students in an SDSU marketing class agree that the ad is disruptive and that the company is a pioneer for taking a stance on this issue.

“I think we’re past that time where brands can just remain neutral and wishy washy, I think it’s a good idea to connect with customers," said Ehrich.

But the ad is also pushing many customers away, with the hashtag 'Boycott Nike' trending on Tuesday.

Many argue Kaepernick’s sacrifices pale in comparison to those who risk their lives every day for this country. And that his unemployment is a matter of skill, not his activism.

“He says he’s sacrificing everything and I feel that’s a stretch from what he’s actually sacrificing, compared to those who sacrifice their lives every day," said Maddie Marks-Noble, President of College Republicans at SDSU.

While Marks-Noble agrees Nike made a smart business decision, she stands by her belief that Kaepernick disrespected the national anthem and our country.

"I don’t really think he sacrificed much, he's still living pretty comfortably, I’m sure," said Marks-Noble.

Some on social media posted pictures and videos burning their Nike apparel.

But with millions of people debating 12 words, it's likely the exact response Nike was hoping for.