CORRECTS DATE- People walk by a Nike advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick on display, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

CORRECTS DATE- People walk by a Nike advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick on display, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Kaepernick watches ad’s TV premiere from Nike HQ

Nike unveiled the deal with the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback this week, who’s known for starting protests among NFL players over police brutality and racial inequality.

As Colin Kaepernick watched from the apparel giant’s headquarters in Oregon, Nike aired its highly anticipated ad featuring the quarterback known for his social protests during the NFL season opener Thursday night.

The spot highlighting the former 49ers quarterback locked in a grievance with the league aired during the first ad break in the third quarter of the Eagles-Falcons game, which started with no overt demonstrations by players during the national anthem.

A person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that Kaepernick was watching the ad’s first television airing on NBC at an event held at Nike’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the visit were not announced publicly.

Still, some attendees posted accounts of the visit on social media, including video of Kaepernick speaking to a crowd Thursday several hours before the ad aired.

“You have to think beyond what you see around you,” said Kaepernick, who hasn’t spoken to the media publicly since opting out of his contract with San Francisco and becoming a free agent in 2017.

“You have to see the future that you believe in and that you want not just for yourself but all the people you see globally,” he said.

Kaepernick’s deal with Nike for the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign was the most polarizing issue in sports this week, prompting heated debate on several topics including athletes protesting social injustice and Nike wading into political waters. Some fans responded to Kaepernick’s sponsorship deal by cutting or burning gear with Nike’s signature swoosh logo. Others argued the backlash and calls for a Nike boycott showed how debate has morphed beyond how to react to athletes trying to highlight issues like racial inequality and police shootings of unarmed minorities.

“I don’t like what Nike did. I don’t think it’s appropriate what they did,” President Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox News before a rally in Montana. “I honour the flag. I honour our national anthem and most of the people in this country feel the same way.”

Related: Colin Kaepernick’s Nike deal prompts #justburnit reaction on social media

Related: LeBron says in Kaepernick reference: I stand with Nike

There were no clear-cut protests as “The Star-Spangled Banner” played before the game with both teams on the field and the song broadcasted nationally.

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Michael Bennett were on the sideline and neither really demonstrated during the song. Jenkins and Bennett regularly have either knelt or stayed off the field during the anthem to protest social injustice and racial inequality. They have been among the most vocal protesters since Kaepernick began similar demonstrations in 2016. Jenkins stood with teammates while Bennett wandered behind them near the Eagles bench and adjusted his equipment.

Jenkins said he thinks players should shift the focus of the debate away from the anthem itself and back to the issues they are trying to highlight.

“I think there’s a huge need for us to turn the attention to not only the issues, but what players are actually doing in their communities to promote change,” he said. “We’re trying to move past the rhetoric of what’s right or what’s wrong in terms of the anthem and really focus on the systematic issues that are plaguing our communities.”

No Falcons players were absent from the sideline and none has protested in the recent past.

The anthem has been a particularly thorny issue for the NFL, especially Trump urging owners to bench or fire players who demonstrate. Players say their message has been misconstrued into something against the American flag or the military.

Kaepernick’s grievance against the league and team owners accuses owners of colluding to keep him off any roster. An arbitrator gave Kaepernick an incremental victory by allowing the challenge to go to trial.

Jenkins said Nike’s commercial is changing the portrayal of Kaepernick in the public eye.

“Quite frankly, long after all of this is done (Kaepernick) will be looked at as somebody that changed this sport and changed the dynamics of all athletes in general in our country,” Jenkins said.

The league and players union still haven’t resolved whether players will be punished this season if they choose to kneel or demonstrate during the anthem. Owners approved a policy requiring players to stand if they are on the sideline during the song, allowing them to stay off the field if they wish.

But the league and union put that on hold after the Miami Dolphins faced backlash for classifying the protests as conduct potentially detrimental to the team — putting players at risk of fines or suspensions.

___

AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner and sports writer Ben Nuckols contributed to this report.

___

Rob Maaddi, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Shoppers walk past the Nike Miami store on the Lincoln Road Mall, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Miami Beach, Fla. Nike’s stock was falling in early trading on Tuesday following an announcement that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a new deal with the athletic clothing and footwear maker. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Shoppers walk past the Nike Miami store on the Lincoln Road Mall, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Miami Beach, Fla. Nike’s stock was falling in early trading on Tuesday following an announcement that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has a new deal with the athletic clothing and footwear maker. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Just Posted

Discovery House executive director Jerome Abraham in front of the third building, Parkers Place, for the addiction recovery program. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Discovery House opens Parkers Place in Penticton to provide transitionary care

The addiction recovery program is now able to provide support for as long as necessary

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen offices in Penticton. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen showcases local government

The RDOS has put together a video as part of Local Government Awareness Week

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

Duckie Lucky Preschool is one of the few child care locations available in Keremeos. (Brennan Phillips – Keremeos Review)
Report: Keremeos to need 40 child care over the next decade

The RDOS has completed their study on child care needs in the region

The future of the Okanagan Lake watershed land use will be subject of a new study supported by a $300,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation. (Contributed)
Grant to help develop Okanagan Lake protection strategy

Study receives $300,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

A man and woman, both 33 and from Kelowna, were arrested on Postill Lake Forest Service Road in possession of two stolen vehicles Friday, May 14, 2021. (File photo)
Kelowna duo arrested with stolen vehicles after ‘brief’ bicycle getaway attempt

A man and a woman were arrested on a forest service road on numerous pending charges

The BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) handed out fines to two anglers on Shuswap Lake who were both casting more than one line, in violation of provincial regulations, Saturday, May 15, 2021. (COS photo)
Conservation officers snag Shuswap anglers for unlawful fishing

Two anglers were given $150 fines for casting two lines at once, against provincial regulations

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Lynda Saundry, born 1961, is charged with the murder of North Okanagan resident Barry Jones in July 2020. Saundry will appear in Vernon court May 17, 2021, to fix a date for a preliminary inquiry. (Facebook public photo)
North Okanagan murder suspect to be tried by judge and jury

Lynda Saundry is charged with the first-degree murder of Barry Jones in July 2020

Vernon Search and Rescue’s Legacy vessel is returning to Okanagan Lake for boating season, the society said Friday, May 14, 2021. (VSAR photo)
Vernon Search and Rescue vessel returns to Okanagan Lake

VSAR’s Legacy is back with a fresh coat of paint and some other upgrades

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read