Lesson Plan

Believe in Something: Nike, Kaepernick and Social Change

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Colin Kaepernick tweeted the new Nike advertisement he appears in as part of a new deal with the company.

GRADE LEVEL: Middle School, High School

COMMON CORE STANDARDS: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, Langauge

In early September 2018, it was announced that Colin Kaepernick, former N.F.L. quarterback with the San Francisco 49ers, would be prominently featured as part of Nike’s 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The campaign’s slogan “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” is featured in the ad. Kaepernick previously had a deal with Nike that was set to expire, but it was renegotiated into a multi-year deal in conjunction with this campaign.

In August 2016, Kaepernick took a stand about racial injustice by refusing to stand for the National Anthem at football games. He spent much of the season either sitting or kneeling during the anthem. It was the subject of a lot of public discussion and controversy. After the 2016 season, Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers, which made him a free agent at the beginning of the 2017 season, but he has not been hired by another team. Since the Nike ad came out featuring Kaepernick, there have been a variety of responses including praise for Nike and the ad, as well as anger at Nike and vows to boycott their products.

This lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Nike’s decision to feature Colin Kaepernick in their 30th anniversary campaign, explore what they strongly believe in and create their own ad about something that is important to them.