The NFL has released a statement in the wake of their corporate sponsor Nike releasing an ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, who has a grievance in progress against the league alleging collusion between the league and its 32 teams designed to keep him out of the league.
The statement, which is credited to executive vice president of communications and public affairs Jocelyn Moore, does not make any direct mention the ad or the grievance.
“The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity. We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities. The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action.”
The NFL also released a fact sheet regarding their social justice initiative on Tuesday. It highlights work done by players to lobby for criminal justice reforms, which the league calls one of three pillars of the initiative. The others are education and economic advancement and police and community relations.
There have been plenty of strong reactions to Nike’s decision to make Colin Kaepernick the face of its new “Just Do It” ad campaign, but the amount of publicity the sports apparel juggernaut has gained because of it is already undeniable.
According to some figures from the social media analytics firm Talkwalker, mentions of the Nike Brand were up 135 percent from the previous week as of Tuesday. While the mentions have been both positive and negative, mentions of Nike were approaching the 3 million mark in a 24-hour period, which was a 1,400 percent increase over the day before the new campaign was released.
Many athletes and celebrities have already tweeted about the new “Just Do It” campaign, and the reactions have ranged from support from NBA players like Kyle Kouzma to one member of the music community destroying his own socks in protest. Nike obviously expected the campaign to create a buzz, and it has done just that.
Although, Nike stocks dropped 3% yesterday, causing a $3.75 billion drop. Nike says it won’t intimidate Nike investors in the long run.