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Colin Kaepernick’s Effect on Southridge Students

Southridge High School students share their opinions on Colin Kaepernick and the newly released Nike ad supporting him.

Emily Moore

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Colin Kaepernick, an NFL football player made famous for kneeling during the national anthem, just broke headlines again due to his new Nike ad campaign.

The campaign contains the tagline “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Now, an uproar has come upon Americans. Some believe Kaepernick’s actions were offensive to US Veterans, and some believe he was just expressing his right of free speech.

Nike has a huge presence in high schooler’s lives, and many Southridge students have seen the ad.

We talked to Southridge High School students about their opinions of Kaepernick and how they feel about Nike supporting him.

“I personally don’t support [him],” sophomore Kennedy Pappan said. “I’m trying to fully understand why he would do that, but in my opinion, it doesn’t make much sense.”

Senior Yasmeen Abou-Seada disagrees.

“I think that him kneeling is a good expression of him exercising his right to free speech and right to stand up for what he believes in.”

She also suggests the idea of the ad possibly being very influential going further. “If this will then lead to larger action on the side of big corporations, it could be the main turning point in this ongoing argument.”

Junior Gavin Balmer feels conflicted.

“I feel that it’s rude to kneel because of the respect that veterans deserve for their service, but I also think that it’s important to stand up for what you believe in.”

When asked if Nike should support Kaepernick by including him in this campaign, the students had opposing arguments.

“I think that Nike has the right to support whomever they believe is providing the right message for their company,” Abou-Seada stated. “If Kaepernick provides this message adequately for Nike, then they have every right to support him.”

“[Kaepernick] has some bad press right now, and, personally, I think the ad would have gotten a better response from someone else,” Pappan said.

Nike, having the largest market share of any apparel company currently in America, definitely proved it’s fame beyond just one ad campaign.

All over social media there have been numerous posts of people burning their Nike gear in opposition to Kaepernick’s ad. Yet, all the students we talked with agreed that it was pointless to burn Nike shoes.

“I think it’s uncalled for. I mean, no one is making anyone buy Nike shoes, so if you don’t support them then why spend money on them?” Pappan added.

Since the ad came out, statistics showed that Nike gained 31% more online sales than before the campaign was released. Despite this, no one certainly knows where this ad will go, or if it will have any long-term effects on America. Balmer believes there is a possibility for it to go far but is unsure.

“It’s definitely powerful, but it’s too early to say whether or not this will change our country forever,” Balmer concludes.

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Colin Kaepernick’s Effect on Southridge Students