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Nike cashes in on Kaepernick and anthem kneeling with jersey celebrating the anniversary of the protests

Nike continued its efforts to commercialize and profit from former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s social justice activism, commemorating the four-year anniversary of his national anthem kneeling protest with a special jersey.

The jersey is all black, featuring Kaepernick’s number, 7, and the words “True to 7” on the collar.

“Four years ago, I took a knee to protest against systemic racism and social injustice,” Kaepernick wrote on social media. “It was that day that the number on my jersey would come to represent something greater than football, something greater than me. Since then, the number 7 jersey has been a symbol for advancing the liberation and well-being of Black & Brown communities. Thank you for staying True.”

The jersey, priced at $150, sold out within minutes after being released. Previous special releases of jerseys, shoes, and T-shirts featuring Kaepernick have also quickly sold out. From Yahoo Sports:

It’s the second time a Kaepernick jersey launch with Nike has sold out shortly after opening period. The company released an all-black “Icon Jersey” with a white No. 7 on the front in February 2019. In that instance, Kaepernick took to social media about 10 hours later to say they had sold out.

It’s unclear how many jerseys and T-shirts Nike had available for any of the launches. And in October 2018, a “Kaepernick icon tee” sold out in a couple of hours. It’s unclear how many jerseys and T-shirts Nike had available for any of the launches.

“The Colin Kaepernick Icon Jersey 2.0 marks Nike’s continued product collaboration with Colin and celebrates those making a positive impact in their community through sport and education,” Nike said in a statement. “This celebration is represented in the meaning behind the line, True to 7”

Years after Kaepernick played his last NFL game, the same protests that he claims got him blackballed from the league have now been fully embraced by the league, which implemented numerous social justice-themed aspects to game days. Many players on multiple teams kneel or stay in the locker room during the national anthem,

Kaepernick, however, has attacked the league for the social justice emphasis, calling it “propaganda.”

“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”

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NFL icon Mike Ditka says players who kneel should respect the country or ‘get the hell out!’

Legendary former NFL coach Mike Ditka criticized the current pro football players who kneeled to protest during the national anthem and said that he couldn’t understand why anyone would protest.

Ditka, a former Chicago Bears player-coach and Hall of Famer, made the comments during an interview with Newsmax TV.

“Football’s football. It’s not a complicated thing. You’re playing the game, you’re enjoying the game,” Ditka said.

“You don’t like the game, get out of it. It’s not for protesting one way or the other. What color you are, what you think, this or that. You play football. That’s it,” he continued.

“You’re privileged. You got a gift from God that you can play the game because you got a body you can do it with,” Ditka said. “I don’t really understand what you’re protesting. I played the game. I coached the game for a long time. It makes no sense to me.”

Ditka, 80, went on to say that players were disrespecting the United States with the protest and that they should leave the country instead of criticizing it.

“I would tell those players go to another country and play football there. You don’t have to come out,” Ditka said. “You don’t have to come out if you go to another country. You can’t! Because the game’s only played in this country. And if you can’t respect this country, get the hell out of it.”

‘There has been no oppression’

Ditka has previously made similar comments about those players who joined the kneeling protests. In a particularly controversial incident in 2017, he was criticized heavily for saying he didn’t think there had been any oppression in the last 100 years.

“All of a sudden, it has become a big deal now — about oppression,” Ditka said at the time. “There has been no oppression in the last hundred years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people.”

He later clarified his comments and claimed that the media was intentionally misleading the public about what he said he meant.

“The characterization of the statement that I made does not reflect the context of the question that I was answering and certainly does not reflect my views throughout my lifetime,” said Ditka. “I have absolutely seen oppression in society in the last 100 years and I am completely intolerant of any discrimination. The interview was about the NFL and the related issues. That’s where my head was at.”

Here’s the video of Ditka’s more recent comments:

Mike Ditka: Get the hell out

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Browns QB Baker Mayfield changes his mind on kneeling during national anthem, says it would create more ‘division’

Baker Mayfield, the NFL quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, completely flip-flopped on whether he would join the national anthem kneeling protest after issuing a defiant message to angry fans.

Mayfield had previously said that he would kneel alongside some of his teammates and he didn’t care if it angered the fans.

“You know, right is right and wrong is wrong,” he said at the time. “It’s a human rights issue. It’s been going on for a long time and I believe in that.”

On Saturday, Mayfield released a statement saying that he had changed his mind after watching how other teams handled the controversy in the first game of the NFL season.

“Also after reading many letters and messages over the past weeks… I have been showed that a gesture such as kneeling will only create more division or discussion about the gesture, rather than be a solution towards our country’s problems at hand. With that being said, I am choosing to stand for both anthems to show respect, love, and unity to everybody involved,” Mayfield said.

“I will respect all of my teammates no matter their decision. We have had meaningful discussions on what true change looks like, and that change takes all of us being together,” he added.

“I am posting this now so it is not a discussion on game day. And so the discussion can continue to be about how to better our country, instead of divide us,” Mayfield concluded. “Our team is ready to fight for our goals both on and off the field.”

Mayfield did stand for the national anthem Sunday before the game against the Baltimore Ravens, although some fans were upset that he was caught on the live broadcast laughing and talking during the presentation.

The Browns suffered a 38-6 blowout loss in their season opener.

Here’s more about Mayfield’s kneeling decision:

Browns QB Baker Mayfield says he’ll now stand for national anthem

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Colin Kaepernick is not a fan of the NFL’s social justice pandering, calls it ‘propaganda’

Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is now a full-time activist, does not approve of the NFL’s social justice presentations, even though they are a progression of the national anthem kneeling protest he started in 2016.

Kaepernick questioned the league’s sincerity and motives in purporting to care for black lives and racial justice, while Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate, is not on a team roster.

“While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid for fighting for the Black community,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league.”

Reid was one of the first players to kneel with Kaepernick during the national anthem when they were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Reid played for the Carolina Panthers in 2019, recording 130 total tackles, 97 solo tackles, and four sacks, playing and starting in all 16 games.

Reid signed a three-year contract extension with the Panthers in February 2019, but was cut in March 2020. Reporting on Reid’s departure indicated that Reid was cut due to the size of his contract. The team also traded quarterback Cam Newton and parted ways with star tight end Greg Olsen.

At the time of his release, Reid did not indicate a belief that there was anything nefarious about the transaction.

“It’s been a pleasure Carolina!” Reid posted the day he was cut. “I enjoyed my time and the support I received from the fans, media, teammates, and staff there will be remembered. Looking forward to furthering my career in another city!”

In his tweet, Kaepernick cites a Deadspin article that claims, without evidence, that Reid is being actively blackballed by owners and the league, who are colluding to keep him unsigned.

Reid was a part of a collusion grievance against the NFL that was launched in 2017 by Kaepernick. The two players settled that grievance for a total of less than $10 million. Due to confidentiality agreements associated with that settlement, we may never know more detail about the situation, and Reid himself may be legally prevented from speaking on it.

Kaepernick has claimed an interest in returning to the NFL, and Nike, which sponsors Kaepernick, has run a #BringBackKap campaign online. However, Kaepernick has not played since 2016, and there is no indication that teams have interest in him, especially after the debacle surrounding his league-arranged tryout last year.