Jim Murray

3 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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This Is What A True American Hero Looks Like

& Justdoit.
See this guy? His name is Colin Kaepernick. He used to be an NFL quarterback and a pretty decent one at that, until one day he decided to stage a protest about police brutality against young black men in particular.

This protest involved taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before a football game. And it caused quite a stir, mainly because a lot of people took it as a sign of disrespect of the troops, of the flag, of the national anthem and America itself.

It, of course, was none of those things, but when you have a society as polarized as America is these days, you get a whole lot of people who are completely unwilling to understand what his motivation actually was, even though he worked really hard to explain it.

It wasn’t long before the the person who had just gotten elected president decided to jump on this and started yelling and screaming about it.

What you might not know was that this person didn’t give a damn about Colin, or any of the injustice he was protesting.

Partially because he’s a racist bigot, but also because he just saw it as a way to make the NFL look bad.

Why would he want to do that to the NFL, you ask? Well, because about 20 years ago, he earned a lifetime ban from the NFL for wanting to buy a franchise that none of the other owners wanted to let him buy.

He also tried and, of course, failed, to successfully launch a league to compete with the NFL. Which, if you know anything about pro football, is sheer folly.

So Colin here ended up getting a whole lot of publicity because of the so-called president and his big mouth, which was good for his cause but not so much for his football career.

Because he, along with several other players who agreed with him, were blacklisted by the NFL owners, most of whom support the so-called president, even though they did not want him to be in their club. But then that’s what the really rich people in America do for the most part.

But that’s OK. Because the so-called president had launched Colin into a whole new career as a black rights activist. He is a genuine hero athlete in the black and enlightened white sectors of America.

And now Nike, one of the world’s most recognized brands, has made him their spokesperson and given him the kind of platform that most activists only dream about.

The so-called president is being very quiet about this, since recognizing it in any substantial way would make him look like exactly what he is. And Lord knows there’s more than enough crap that he’s dealing with already, including a potential mutiny in his own office.

Make no mistake. Nike didn’t get to be one of the world’s biggest brands though dumb luck. They got there through cunning and consistently great marketing.

Choosing Colin as their spokesperson has a couple of very solid advantages. It shores up their brand loyalty in the black community. And it gives them a great humanitarian story to tell, one with a lot of legs.

My own theory is that the marketing people who work with and for Nike are trying to make a statement, and a very powerful one, about racism in America.

And it comes at a very good time, because the so-called president has, through his behavior, unleashed a lot of pent-up racial hatred in America.

This is a battle that gets fought on many fronts. Nike has chosen the Colin Kaepernick route, and I wish them a lot of success.

So far, despite a bit of protest (idiots burning sneakers etc), this campaign seems to be doing what it’s supposed to do, which is helping to bump Nike’s share price. And make them look like the caring megacorp they may or may not be.

Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional. He has run his own business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is a communication strategist, writer, art director, broadcast producer, mildly opinionated op/ed blogger & beBee Brand Ambassador.

Jim lives in St Catharines Ontario (AKA The Quiet Side Of The Lake) and is still working with companies in Toronto whence he came. He is also currently a partner at Bullet Proof Consulting. www.bulletproofconsulting.ca

You can follow Jim

On beBee: https://www.bebee.com/bee/jim-murray

On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-murray-b8a3a4/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/Jimbobmur

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Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #17

I wasn't sure who you were speaking of, i am assuming its Austin Perine the four year old superman. I think he demonstrates the best of humanity. A father is showing his child how to live within humanity and i loved this quote i found from one of the people superman served, "It's because of you that I want to be a better person," a homeless man tells the boy. "You're showing love, everywhere you go, right?" Taking a knee and getting a million dollar(s) contract will never cause another human to make the statement quoted. Getting a person to look up from their own feet and see a brighter future is difficult at best, frightening at the worst. We attempt to do this everyday in our programming in special education. Austin is the real hero and might add so is his dad for promoting this kind of service. Sounds like a great family.

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #16

Harvey Lloyd - what's your take on Austin Perin?

Harvey Lloyd

3 years ago #15

This like many stories that emerge from the ivory tower seem to whiff around the conference table while reality is way off in the distance. Each day i go to work and see the families, children and the economy that the ivory tower has handed out. Mr. K is no where to be found. He takes a knee and gathers a reward from Nike all while the towns and cities that have complied with the political ivory tower now suffer under the weight of what was to be a utopian policy. Several football players have been through the cities and counties we serve. Taking federal grant money and staging photo ops and leaving these young people on the corner as they wave goodbye. So while we pat Mr. K on the back with his millions, know that many people get up each morning and go to work in the community he decries needs help. These never in front of a tv camera hero’s face the depressing atmosphere children grow up in everyday. They do this because they want to make a difference, not fortune and fame. If you would like to see some real hero’s go into the inner city and volunteer for some support in a special education classroom full of emotionally disturbed students. My guess is that you will run back to the ivory tower where we make hero’s out of TV personalities that are so far removed from the real issues they claim to support. Our students listen to this crap everyday and get energized to go home where no food, drugs and poor living conditions exist. We each day try and make sense of this with them. Only to turn them back out into the horror show they call home. So no i dont share your enthusiasm of the great Mr. K nor your disdain for Mr. Trump. I just get up every morning and watch real hero’s take on a class of ED students that bite, kick scratch and tell stories of their home life that would make the devil blush.

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #14

Gerald Hecht Aurosa is on Twitter and you can subscribe to her blog.

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #13

Chris \ud83d\udc1d Guest- I bet any one of our Zulu Mamas could show Serena Williams a thing or two!

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #12

Yes, let's see if Reebok or Addidas can come up with a 'we don't want your type wearing our shoes kinda deal. I reckon Converse will get it right - I don't watch TV so I guess it will filter down to me in deepest, darkest Africa. Got to go, one of my cats brought in a Park Town Prawn.

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #11

Hopefully it passes quickly Neil Smith - it's very stinky in London, most of my friends and family don't even bother going into town anymore. I got as far as Clapham Junction - not even rush hour and I felt like I was 'under surveillance' it's quite hectic there, no bins at all, anywhere (even in the ladies...) doom and gloom watch out for the goblin droppings adverts and the men are overtly sexually aggressive. So glad I am not living there now in my 20s etc. etc.

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #10

Phil Friedman

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #9

Back on form @Brian McKenzie I see! You do have a wee point there, but bowing before a flag or Queen is supposed to show honour, reverence and respect. I think what this man did was actually very graceful. I think it's about time that we all accepted that we all look a little different, act a little different or are down right odd (like me!)

Claire L Cardwell

3 years ago #8

Jim Murray - great piece of writing, I am making my comment tonight the other way around, straight away before I scroll through the comments. What a fantastic marketing coup by Nike, instant upgrade to a real man! Fantastic image. I love the way the plates keep spinning!

Paul Walters

3 years ago #7

Gerald Hecht nice to see you back !!

Pascal Derrien

3 years ago #6

When stars are aligned ....

Jim Taggart

3 years ago #5

Trevor Noah said it best last week after showing clips of people losing their shit and then burning their Nike sneakers: Nike's laughing at these idiots who already paid for their shoes. Now they need a new pair.

Jerry Fletcher

3 years ago #4

Jim, Great take on the actions of Nike. I live in Nike town and can tell you the reviews here are "let's see where it goes" No one was sure how iconic "Just do it" would become. This is Round 2. I'm betting that they will be able to walk that narrow line that bigots cannot.

Neil Smith

3 years ago #3

I saw a photo of a guy throwing his New Balance shoes in the trash yesterday. How do get through to someone who can't even get the basics right?  Forcing people who don't share your opinions to conform or suffer is about as un-American as it gets. The whole constitutional set up of the nation is predicated on compromise and discussion.  This too shall pass though, as has been said before. 

Jim Murray

3 years ago #2

Thanks Phil Friedman...BTW, I wasn't naked today Phil, it was let's call it autumn like.

Phil Friedman

3 years ago #1

Jim Murray, the irony has always been that those who attack peaceful protest such as Kaepernick employed are actually more disrespectful not only of the Republic and its Constitution but also of those in the armed forces who put themselves in harm's way to uphold the freedom for him to do precisely what he has done. This is a first-rate piece, Jimbo. Now if I could only get you to come back from that oldster's nudist colony...

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