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Colin Kaepernick will be one of the athletes featured by Nike as the athletic apparel company marks its 30th anniversary of the famous "Just Do It" ad campaign.
The former 49ers quarterback on Monday tweeted an image from the campaign, saying: "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything."
The message is certainly fitting to Kaepernick's story. During a preseason game in 2016, he decided not to stand for the national anthem to protest racial injustice. Other athletes later joined in his protest, sparking a controversy that has been linked to declining television ratings for National Football League games.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media in an interview after the 2016 game when the protest began. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
While Kaepernick continued to protest during the 2016 season, he is currently not signed with any football team. Despite this, Nike has continued its endorsement, which began in 2011. Until now, it was unclear how the company planned to use this relationship.
It remains to be seen how consumers will view Nike's decision to use Kaepernick in the campaign. Although he is no longer playing football, Kaepernick was once considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He has accused the NFL of colluding to keep him off the field. Late last month, an arbitrator allowed the case was to proceed. The New York Times reported that a hearing could be held by the end of the year.
Nike said other athletes including Serena Williams, LeBron James, Lacey Baker, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham Jr. will be featured in the campaign as well.
The "Just Do It" ad campaign has become famous as a rallying cry for athletes. The company has long touted it as a way to encourage athletes to dream big in an attempt to achieve their goals.
Last week, Nike released a film entitled "Voice of Belief," which tells the story of Serena Williams, who at 9 years old dreamed of playing at the U.S. Open. She has since won 23 Grand Slam titles, six of them won at the tournament she hoped to play at one day.