On September 3, Nike revealed that Colin Kaepernick has been under contract with them. Kaepernick made headlines not for his play but his kneeling protest. They launched their latest "Just do it" ad campaign with Kaepernick as the face (literally), having him narrate their commercial. Americans responded mostly in two ways. Either they were repulsed by the decision and decided not to buy Nike anymore (and even burned what they had) or they flocked to Nike in support. Even our president (to the surprise of no one) chimed in:

What it is

Here is the original photo ad that Nike aired with the face of Kaepernick:

The ad states that if you really believe in something, sacrificing everything should neither be a surprise nor out of the question.

Without a doubt that is correct. Sure, there might have been some better people to use as the face. Still, Nike chose Kaepernick. According to Jacey Fortin and Matthew Haag of the New York Times, many have shared a version of the Nike ad altered to show the face of Pat Tillman, who left the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army and was serving in Afghanistan when he was killed in 2004 despite his widowed wife's requests not to politicize his service.

While Colin Kaepernick didn't sacrifice nearly as much as Pat Tillman did and probably never will, he did ultimately sacrifice his playing career, and he knew he might have to. He was quoted in 2016 as saying: "If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right." Fast forward to today and Colin hasn't played since January 1, 2017 and it's clear that his playing days are likely over.

Nike also released an extended commercial narrated by Kaepernick. What is actually a very poignant and powerful ad will, unfortunately, be overshadowed by the opinions of the narrator.

This isn't the first time Nike has been controversial. In 1995, an ad campaign featured gay, HIV-positive runner Ric Munoz. In 1995 and 2012, they released campaigns centered on women playing predominantly male sports.

In 2017, a campaign featured five Middle Eastern women pushing social norms to excel in boxing and skateboarding. And finally, Kaepernick in 2018.

Nike has never been one to shy away from being controversial. And with the NFL season officially underway, and the anthem rules still in limbo, their timing for this campaign is calculated and purposeful.

Nike knew exactly what they were doing and how to do it.

The backlash

Ever since Kaepernick and others knelt, there has been nothing but backlash. Not unexpected, of course. Donald Trump has time and again voiced his displeasure on the matter. Pundits and analysts have voiced many opinions since the controversy began.

More recently, there has been an explosion of both anger and support for Nike since the ad was released. Many have posted videos and pictures of their destroyed Nike apparel, claiming that Nike has lost customers. A Louisiana mayor has banned all Nike products, according to Ashley May of USA Today. Here is just one example:

Multitudes of people have claimed they're going to start boycotting Nike over it.

While that certainly is their right, it won't help. As a matter of fact, it won't do anything. Since the ad dropped, Nike's sales are up 31 percent. So much for multiplying by the millions. What's more, being that this is inherently a divisive issue (and Nike is partly to blame now, as well), claiming you'll never buy Nike again only serves to further the gap. By boycotting Nike, people are saying that they refuse to purchase a top-tier brand over a commercial. What Nike did by endorsing Kaepernick put them firmly on one side of the battle, and instead of being the bigger man, so to speak, people have responded by stooping to that level.

And yet, the commercial is great. Put a voice over it from anyone else and I believe Nike would be commended all around for the message.

It's a poignant commercial with a powerful message that's being delivered to a people (specifically American) who seem to get more apathetic by the generation.

Granted, if Nike chose someone else to be the face, it might not have worked. Maybe the commercial delivers its message so powerfully because people realize that Kaepernick did stand for something (pun intended) and did ultimately sacrifice his livelihood. Whether people agree with what he did or not is moot. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who isn't familiar with Kaepernick, what he did, and what followed.

This issue may never end, though I'm sure we can all agree that there is a middle ground somewhere, or something that can be done to fix the problem and end this battle. Nike may not have helped with that, but boycotting Nike products won't either.