Here's Why People Are Burning Their Nike Sneakers
If you happened to blink today, you may be confused about just why a huge social media movement is underway to boycott and even burn Nike products.
It all goes back to the United States' national anthem, a purely symbolic song that many Americans conflate with patriotism itself. Indeed, the song and flag are fetish objects for many conservative Americans.
A few years back, NFL player Colin Kaepernick produced mass outrage by daring to kneel during a routine rendition of the national anthem at the beginning of an American football game.
Kaepernick was actually using his platform to protest American police brutality and the racism that is endemic to the justice system in the United States
The move was highly strategic. By taking a knee during the national anthem at a football game, Kaepernick aimed to provoke a majority white, male, and conservative audience.
He was also challenging this white audience's reluctance to address police brutality despite their willingness to enjoy and use the black athletic skill.
Kaepernick became a celebrity activist, drawing the ire of Donald Trump and the support of counteless thousands. Since then, however, Kaepernick has had trouble finding work. He has been effectively blacklisted by the NFL.
But this month, famous sneaker brand Nike made the daring decision to feature Kaepernick in a new ad campaign.
The campaign has sparked both a renewed attention to Kaepernick's activism and bravey as well as massive outrage.
Donald Trump has even commented. The president has made anthem kneeling perhaps the most contentious cultural issue in the United States. The protest, according to Trump, offends and undermines American values, whatever that means.
The backlash has also taken off on social media.
Trump supporters and anthem-lovers have vowed to boycott Nike products.
Many are even documenting the destruction of their Nike products on social media in protest:
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
I guess it’s time to stop wearing @Nike -Shame on you for honoring colin kaepernick. Pat Tillman was a real American hero with real values. Thank god @kanyewest@adidas shoes are so amazing- bye bye Nike!
Others have mocked the Nike boycott:
The situation has become an international sensation.
Stay tuned for updates.