Here's What The NFL Had To Say In Response To Colin Kaepernick's Nike Ad

The league released a statement.

Following the release of a new Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick on Monday, the NFL has issued a statement. Although the comments don't reference the "Just Do It" campaign directly, they do address the "social justice issues" to which Kaepernick and other athletes have drawn attention.

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"The National Football League believes in dialogue, understanding and unity," said Jocelyn Moore, NFL Executive vice president of Communications and Public Affairs, in Tuesday's statement. "We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities."

Moore added, "The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action."

In 2016, former 49ers quarterback Kaepernick began sitting (and then kneeling) during the national anthem before games, in protest of police brutality and racial injustice. He inspired other players to follow his lead, even after he became a free agent last year. Nike's latest ad sparked a backlash among those who disagree with the protests, while others praised the brand for featuring Kaepernick.

Nike is the NFL's official apparel sponsor, with a partnership through 2028. According to USA Today, the brand declined to comment on whether it consulted with the league about Kaepernick's appearance in the ad. A representative told the outlet that Nike "works extensively with the league on all campaigns that use current NFL players and its marks." However, it added that Kaepernick "isn't currently employed by an NFL team and has no contractual obligation to the NFL." 

Kaepernick, meanwhile, has filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing the league of colluding to keep him from playing because of his activism. Last week, an arbitrator allowed the case to advance to a full hearing.

Earlier this year, the NFL announced new rules which would require players to stand during the national anthem, or remain in the locker room. The policy was put on hold following a complaint from the Players Association, saying it "infringes on player rights." The issue is apparently still being discussed.

It remains to be seen whether the NFL's statement will have any impact on Kaepernick's case, or how the league proceeds with the issue of player protests as the new season starts on Thursday.

Cover image: dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

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