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Nike Airs Controversial Advertisement Featuring Colin Kaepernick During NFL Season Opener

There has been plenty of politics in football recently and the debate over players kneeling during the national anthem was reignited this week with a new Nike advertisement featuring the player who started it all.

No player were seen in Thursday night's National Football League game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Philadelphia Eagles to kick off the new season, but fans who watched the game at a Bay Area bar still had plenty to say about the ad, the anthem and the advocate.

"(It's) very interesting that finally one massive corporate entity came out and took a stand," Naveen Sood said of Nike.

The sportswear and sneaker giant made national headlines and a flurry of debate online this week after making former NFL player and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick one of the faces to celebrate its 30th anniversary of the "Just Do It" campaign.

A new commercial featuring the outspoken and controversial Kaepernick aired during the NFL's season opener Thursday. Kaepernick two years ago took a knee during national anthems before games to protest social injustice.

The movement has been met with backlash ever since from critics, including President Donald Trump, who accuses the players of disrespecting the country.

"As a vet, I don't take it disrespectful. They're understanding the national anthem is being played, they're choosing to do a peaceful protest, which is what United States is about," Rick Moorhouse said. "It's people who sit there and ignore the national anthem with their hat on, or continue conversations or on their cell phone that are actually disrespecting it."

But Nike's ad was no exception to the criticism. Users on social media called for a boycott of the company and even took to burning Nike gear and cutting the logo out of their clothes.

Ann Skeet, senior director of leadership ethics at Santa Clara University, said Nike certainly did its homework when choosing Kaepernick for the ad.

"They are known for their edgy marketing and in fact, some of their values really speak to the ability of sport to affect community and of individuals to make a difference," Skeet said.

Skeet also adds the NFL has every right to impose rules about kneeling during the national anthem for players if they are doing it on the job.

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