Colin Kaepernick

Nike tabs Kaepernick for new "Just Do It" ad campaign

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USA Today

Nike tabs Kaepernick for new "Just Do It" ad campaign

Colin Kaepernick will be the face of Nike's latest ab campaign and social media doesn't know how to take it. Many fans supported Nike and Kaepernick, while others started the hashtag #boycottnike in protest of the move. Some people even chose to burn their Nike products in an act of defiance.

The first image of the ad campaign appeared on Twitter Monday afternoon when Kaepernick tweeted his image with the words "believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything" appearing over it.

Nike stock may have taken a hit as a result of the Kaepernick news, falling 2.60 points (3.16%) by the end of trading Tuesday. However, many have pointed out that other apparel companies such as Adidas and Puma also saw their stocks fall, using this as evidence that Nike's stock fall was not associated with Kaepernick.

On Tuesday the ad campaign made its debut on a billboard in downtown San Francisco, showing the same image the Kaepernick tweeted out the day before. 

The ad campaign will center around more than just Colin Kaepernick, it will also feature LeBron James, Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., and Seattle Seahawks rookie Shaquem Griffin.

 

Trail Blazers form circle of unity during anthem protest

Trail Blazers form circle of unity during anthem protest

The Trail Blazers on Sunday for the National Anthem huddled in a circle with their arms around each other in what Damian Lillard said was in conjunction with other professional athletes’ civil rights protest in this country.

“I’m a proud American, but the reason behind the protesting, I share that same belief,’’ Lillard said. “I share the same feeling, being an African American. Obviously, every other guy on the team shares that belief as well.’’

Lillard said the Blazers will continue to huddle during future National Anthems, beginning with Monday’s exhibition opener against Utah at the Moda Center.

The movement was started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has knelt during the National Anthem since the NFL preseason in protest of African Americans being killed by police officers. He has since been joined by other NFL players and WNBA players.

The Blazers have traditionally lined up about 15 feet from the baseline, extending from sideline to sideline. But on Sunday, they huddled with arms around each other in the middle of the key near the basket by their bench.

“It was showing we are together,’’ center Mason Plumlee said. “As a team we all support each other. We all come from different situations, yet we are close, and we just wanted to show that. Hopefully people in society can have the same relationships like we have on our team. We are a very close team and we are very proud of that.’’

Added Maurice Harkless: “The whole message was us being together, us as one, and being equal. Us huddling like that is a great way to display that unity and that togetherness between us, and as a whole, people in general.’’

Seattle vs. San Francisco: Week 3 Preview

Seattle vs. San Francisco: Week 3 Preview

The Seattle Seahawks were in need of some good news - any good news, really - to help extinguish the stench from last week’s dreadful offensive performance, and the subsequent loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

On Wednesday, they got it.

In his weekly press conference with the media, head coach Pete Carroll – who, quite frankly, needed something to smile about as well – doled out good news left and right.

Russell Wilson? He’s looking better and ahead of schedule. Tyler Lockett, Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise? All could potentially be good to go on Sunday.

But perhaps the biggest development could be the impending debut of Germain Ifedi, the mammoth offensive guard who’s expected to make his NFL debut. Ifedi, out of Texas A&M, was Seattle’s first-round selection in the draft this year. He was brought in to help shore up an offensive line that struggled last year, lost some pieces, and was expected to be in dire straights entering this season.

He hasn’t been anointed the savior, and he shouldn’t be. But infusing talent, no matter how young, is vital at this stage.

Two weeks in, those painful predictions of the offensive line have played out for the world to see. Seattle can’t run the ball (they're 18th in the league at 89.5 yards per game) and they’re not throwing the ball well (21st in the NFL at 239.5 passing yards per game).

Not all of the offensive woes can be placed on the line; not all can be placed on Wilson’s ankle, either. But the two combined factors have limited Seattle to just 7.5 points per game, a 1-1 record, and raised serious questions about the offense’s ability to help the defense at all this season.

The good news? As anemic as the Seahawks have been on offense, San Francisco, Seattle’s next opponent, has been slightly worse. Under first-year coach Chip Kelly – who knows a thing or two about offense, if you recall – the 49ers are 28th in the league in passing yards (203.5).

After a wild offseason, followed by a tumultuous preseason, sidetracked by the ongoing Colin Kaepernick saga, the 49ers have settled on Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, hamstringing a unit that, seemingly, could benefit from the playmaking ability Kaepernick would provide.

CSN Bay Area is reporting that Kaepernick is still regaining strength after an offseason in which he couldn’t lift weights. According to the report, Kelly said that at some point this season Kaepernick could be an option.

It won’t be against Seattle, although it may not matter with the way the Seahawks’ defense is playing. Aided by two games against the Dolphins and Rams, Seattle’s defense is first the NFL – by 25 yards – allowing just 248 yards per game and just 9.5 points per game.

And yet, according to multiple players, they haven’t played close to their best ball.

If last week’s showdown with Los Angeles was about defense, this week is looking to follow suit. Seattle (27th) and San Francisco (28th overall) both appear woeful offensively. But Seattle’s defense is masking any and all problems at this point.

With the health problems seemingly on the mend, the Seahawks’ offense has to be nearing a turning point. There’s no better time to start that now.

Prediction

Seattle 17, San Francisco 9

 

Fantasy

Last week, I told you to take the safe road, pick the Seahawks defense for your fantasy team, and get out of dodge. That’s the safe bet this week – and for the whole season, probably – but I can’t take the easy road again.

So, I’m going to go out on a huge ledge: Jimmy Graham.

Since Graham arrived at the beginning of last season, he’s been a square-peg-in-a-round-hole. Nothing about Graham’s style of play has fit in with what the Seahawks expect. They want him to block; he can’t do it. He wants to hug the seams; they want him to be complex. But last week, in Seattle’s 9-3 loss, we may have begun to see a glimpse of the Graham everyone expected. He only had 3 catches for 42 yards, but there seemed to be a conscious effort to get him the ball. And it makes perfect sense: you have an offensive line that doesn’t give you any time, and a quarterback who’s inured and can’t move.

The natural outlet? Graham. It’s a risk, but it may pay off.

Is sitting out the anthem worse than never showing it on TV?

Is sitting out the anthem worse than never showing it on TV?

Colin Kaepernick chose to sit down for the national anthem last weekend and you can find his reasons here. But I would like to add some thoughts about his action:

  • Obviously, Kaepernick is free to express himself in this way as long as he's willing to accept the consequences of his act -- which he seems to understand. We have been waiting for athletes to return to their role as activists for years and when one comes along, we cannot then condemn them for it.
  • My father was a proud veteran of World War II but had some interesting thoughts about the playing of the anthem prior to just about every athletic event he ever attended. "It cheapens it." he said. "We're standing in the rain among a crowd of a few hundred people at a minor-league baseball game and somebody who can't sing is trying to get through one of the most difficult songs anyone has ever had to sing. It's disrespectful. Play the song on opening day and before the first game of the World Series and that's good enough."
  • So is it worse to sit down during the anthem or to hide it? Watch just about any of your favorite baseball, basketball or football teams' games on television and try to find the rendition of the anthem. Same thing on the radio. Almost every time it's not shown or heard. TV and radio broadcasts generally "cover" the anthem with commercial breaks just prior to the game. And many of you don't even notice. So is the anthem THAT important? If it is, where is the outrage over not getting to see it on TV or hear it on the radio?
  • Kaepernick's action was anything but new. I can recall in the late 1960s and early '70s I'd see entire sections of a grandstand sitting during the anthem at college basketball games, when activism was much higher on campuses than it is now. Those fans made their statement and that was fine.
  • In general, players and fans pay little attention to the anthem. I know what it stands for -- we all do. It is a statement. But when you make a strong statement, you should always expect someone to take issue with it. And if you make that same statement before 162 baseball games or 16 football games or 82 basketball games, isn't it only natural for people to begin to take it for granted? Kaepernick's sit-down sparked a whole lot of thought about the anthem again.
  • Do they play the anthem before your job starts every day? I doubt it. They don't play it prior to movies, either. For some reason, sports have always wrapped themselves in the flag. It's not always appropriate.
  • I really don't think Kaepernick's actions meant he had no respect for the military and its veterans. It does him a disservice to try to turn this into a condemnation of people who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
  • Ultimately, Kaepernick's tenure with the 49ers will last only as long as he can ably man the quarterback position. So far, that doesn't look like a long time. In fact, it's possible that the conversation he started will last longer than his career.